Cocaine Bear: A Wildly Entertaining Dark Comedy

Cocaine Bear, a new dark comedy thriller based on a bizarre true story, hits cinemas on February 24th.[0] Directed by Elizabeth Banks, the film stars Keri Russell, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Alden Ehrenreich, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Brooklynn Prince, Isiah Whitlock Jr, Margo Martindale, and Ray Liotta.[1]

The story follows a black bear who ingests a loose bag of cocaine that was dropped from a drug smuggler's plane in 1985.[2] Although the killing-spree the movie depicts is entirely fictional, the real-life bear tragically overdosed and was later taxidermied, earning the name Pablo Escobear.[2] The movie follows the fictionalized plot of drug dealers, a single mom, and a bear on a warpath to find cocaine.

The movie boasts genuinely laugh-out-loud moments, gory mayhem, and a photorealistic bear performance. Director Elizabeth Banks and screenwriter Jimmy Warden juggle multiple storylines and characters, and keep things moving along over the 95-minute running time.[3] Banks is quoted as saying, “This bear is collateral damage in this broken war on drugs. I thought that this movie was a great opportunity to tell a vengeance story on behalf of that bear.”[4]

The kills in the movie range from comically blood-soaked to straight-up hilarious. But with no connection to those who are being mauled and no reason to care, they're nothing more than gross-outs and cheap gags in a clunky thrill ride.[5]

Cocaine Bear delivers its fair share of laughs and thrills, but it could have been even more fun and stupid.[6] Despite its flaws, the bear is an instant legend, and her star vehicle is worth a watch.

0. “The ‘Cocaine Bear' true story is real, and Knox News covered it live” Knoxville News Sentinel, 22 Feb. 2023,

1. “Cocaine Bear review: Horror comedy about drug-crazed animal lives up to its gloriously stupid title” The Independent, 23 Feb. 2023,

2. “‘Cocaine Bear' Gets R-Rated Funko Pop Figure & Stunning Mondo Poster” Collider, 22 Feb. 2023,

3. “Intoxicating ‘Cocaine Bear' goes hilariously off the rails” Chicago Sun-Times, 23 Feb. 2023,

4. “Elizabeth Banks on Her New (and Already Cult) Movie ‘Cocaine Bear'” Esquire, 19 Feb. 2023,

5. “Review: ‘Cocaine Bear' isn't smart dumb, it's just plain dumb” Detroit News, 23 Feb. 2023,

6. “‘Cocaine Bear' review: A wild true story becomes a bonkers comedy, and yet…” Mashable, 23 Feb. 2023,

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