Review: Cocaine Bear
After a 500-pound black bear consumes a significant amount of cocaine and embarks on a drug-fueled rampage, an eccentric gathering of cops, criminals, tourists, and teenagers assemble in a Georgia forest.
Cast: Keri Russell, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Alden Ehrenreich, Ray Liotta, Christian Convery, Brooklynn Prince
Cocaine Bear is as ridiculous, out there, and entertaining as you could possibly hope for and expect from its title alone. It’s a comedy horror flick that is about as close to a B-movie as you can get without actually being one, and I for one had an absolutely wild ride with it!
I’ll get my issues out of the way first, because there are absolutely a few that make me teeter between two different ratings for this: the main one being the pacing. Especially in the first act, Cocaine Bear is…kind of boring? There is a lot more human centric storytelling in the film than you’d probably expect there to be, with the first act dragging out a little bit after the entertaining opening sequence. It does pick up a lot after that, but there is still the occasional scene here or there spread out in the back half that you could have probably cut out.
As well as that, there are a few jokes that really didn’t land—especially the multiple where one actor would just repeat what another actor says a tiny bit louder, but edited in a way where it just felt forced and janky. Which brings me on to probably my biggest problem with the flick: the editing. It’s not bad, per se, but there are quite a few sequences where cuts are made too soon or too late, and it just pulls you out of the experience to remind you you’re watching a film.
Outside of those things though, I cannot tell you enough how much of a hilarious blast Cocaine Bear really, genuinely is.
When the humour does land, it’s laugh out loud funny and a stand out of the film without a shadow of a doubt. Most of the cast are good, but O’Shea Jackson Jr. and Alden Ehrenreich are the clear standouts here—their chemistry, comedic timing, and effective-when-it-needs-to-be acting was the best in the entire movie and made their scenes the most fun out of all the ones that weren’t focused on the title attraction.
And the title attraction? Perfect. Absolutely perfectly handled. It didn’t just look great effects-wise, but it felt real and the gore it bought with it was truly a treat. There’s one particular scene with a needledrop of “I Just Can’t Get Enough” that may genuinely be one of my new favourite scenes because of how stupid and hilarious it was. Plus, a few scares actually do land, and even though the film didn’t look exactly gorgeous, it was shot effectively and helped the occasional scares to land.
It’s not an “objective” masterpiece that everyone will enjoy, but Cocaine Bear is just a wonderfully fun time at the movies, and I’d recommend it to most people regardless.