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. 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.
The story follows a black bear who ingests a loose bag of cocaine that was dropped from a drug smuggler's plane in 1985. 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. 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. 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.”
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.
Cocaine Bear delivers its fair share of laughs and thrills, but it could have been even more fun and stupid. 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, https://www.knoxnews.com/story/entertainment/2023/02/22/cocaine-bear-true-story-real-news-coverage-movie/69915478007/
1. “Cocaine Bear review: Horror comedy about drug-crazed animal lives up to its gloriously stupid title” The Independent, 23 Feb. 2023, https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/reviews/cocaine-bear-review-true-story-release-b2287097.html
2. “‘Cocaine Bear' Gets R-Rated Funko Pop Figure & Stunning Mondo Poster” Collider, 22 Feb. 2023, https://collider.com/cocaine-bear-funko-pop-figure-mondo-poster
3. “Intoxicating ‘Cocaine Bear' goes hilariously off the rails” Chicago Sun-Times, 23 Feb. 2023, https://chicago.suntimes.com/movies-and-tv/2023/2/23/23611326/cocaine-bear-review-movie-keri-russell-ray-liotta-oshea-jackson-jr-alden-ehrenheich
4. “Elizabeth Banks on Her New (and Already Cult) Movie ‘Cocaine Bear'” Esquire, 19 Feb. 2023, https://www.esquire.com/uk/culture/film/a42800563/cocaine-bear-elizabeth-banks-interview/
5. “Review: ‘Cocaine Bear' isn't smart dumb, it's just plain dumb” Detroit News, 23 Feb. 2023, https://www.detroitnews.com/story/entertainment/movies/2023/02/23/review-cocaine-bear-isnt-smart-dumb-its-just-plain-dumb/69935570007/
6. “‘Cocaine Bear' review: A wild true story becomes a bonkers comedy, and yet…” Mashable, 23 Feb. 2023, https://mashable.com/article/cocaine-bear-review