Cocaine Bear Is An Entertaining Disappointment

Cocaine Bear Is An Entertaining Disappointment
Cocaine Bear Is An Entertaining Disappointment

When the trailer first dropped for Cocaine Bear, it garnered massive attention because the premise was so ridiculous that it seemed like a genuine good time. There aren’t many B-movie-type films of this nature these days. As such, the Elizabeth Banks feature had all the makings to become a modern classic based on its awesome trailer.

However, the trailer and the actual film itself aren’t exactly the same. The premise of Cocaine Bear is simple. A 500-pound black bear consumes a significant amount of cocaine and embarks on a drug-fueled rampage in a Georgia forest. The premise is packed with loads of potential, and it helps that it has an all-star cast of top-notch actors on board. There’s no denying the entertainment volume of Cocaine Bear. Sadly, it’s not the classic B-film that it could’ve been.

The Story Is Uneven And Rough Around The Edges

Cocaine Bear Is An Entertaining Disappointment

Cocaine Bear starts off quite promising. It kicks off with Andrew Thornton (Matthew Rys) throwing a massive hall of cocaine out of a crashing plane. The movie gets the tone and premise across nicely. Needless to say, the scene is silly fun, with Rhys clearly enjoying the absurdity of the situation. The actual bear attack is wrapped up nicely in a comedic manner. Nevertheless, it’s safe to say that it isn’t treated as horrifically as it should’ve been.

Elsa (Hannah Hoekstra) and Olaf (Kristofer Hivju) are clearly scared out of their minds. But the scene goes for a more comedic/campy affair. As a result, it never truly capitalizes on the horror aspects of the black bear randomly murdering innocent civilians. The story only gets worse when the film scatters around and focuses on multiple characters.

It’s understandable that a film of this nature needs a body count. But not everyone in the main cast needed a spotlight. The movie needed a central protagonist, and technically, Sari (Keri Russell), Henry (Christian Convery), and Dee Dee (Brooklynn Prince) fill that role. However, the audience needed to understand their full journey because of several plot points that play out in the film.

Since there are so many moving parts in Cocaine Bear, the story becomes muddled and convoluted towards the end. There’s also some notably weak CGI throughout the film. It only succeeds in taking you out of the moment because it feels heavy on the green screen.

The Characters Are Fine

Keri Russell in Cocaine Bear

There’s a diverse set of characters that makes Cocaine Bear a thrilling ride. In fact, it’s the multiple set of characters that make this film entertaining. Daveed (O’Shea Jackson Jr.) and Eddie (Alden Ehrenreich) are the standouts as the bumbling thieves trying to retrieve the lost cocaine. In truth, there’s no one in the cast that’s particularly bad.

Keri Russell is fine as the concerned parent looking for her daughter. However, her character is on the bland side because viewers don’t really spend enough time with her. Cocaine Bear doesn’t truly challenge her character. Her journey is clear — find Dee Dee. However, she finds her daughter relatively easy with minimal obstacles. Sure, she sees the black bear every now and then, but her life is never in danger.

Ray Liotta is awesome. However, his character arc feels forced. There’s a murderous bear running rampant throughout the forest. For some odd reason, Elizabeth Banks opted to make him the big bad villain in the climax. In fact, the ending of Cocaine Bear left somewhat of a sour taste because the film flips the script, and the bear becomes sympathetic. Mind you, this bear has killed several innocent people for no good reason. Altogether, the characters are fun in Cocaine Bear, but the characterization is massively flawed here.

Final Thoughts

Cocaine Bear Is An Entertaining Disappointment

Cocaine Bear is fine for what it is. The CGI is shoddy at times, the story is flimsy, especially toward the end, and the characters are more fun than not. If you go into this film, then don’t expect a smart, campy comedy-thriller because that’s what it’s not. The film needed another draft polish in order to reach its potential as something unique and original truly. Nevertheless, it was still good fun, though it certainly won’t make anyone’s “Best Of” list by the time December rolls around.

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