Cocaine Bear (2023) Review
THE title alone instantly promises so much; an aggressive predator fuelled only by nature and an unholy amount of cocaine runs rampant on a small town, but despite its attention-seeking name, Cocaine Bear loses track of what it needed to be: an unapologetic, non-sensical comedy.
Inspired loosely by a 1985 plane crash, a group of locals, drug dealers, tourists, and police officers end up discovering the remnants of cocaine from the crashed aircraft. But when it becomes obvious a native black bear has ingested large quantities of the illegal drug, all of those searching for the missing cocaine must come together to put down the predator before it does the same to them.
Elizabeth Banks has certainly diverted from her usual directorial motive, with her previous works Pitch Perfect 2 and Charlie’s Angels being poor representations of what would follow, and while I respect Banks for a change in style, Cocaine Bear isn’t exactly the adjustment that was needed. For being labelled as a self-aware comedy the film fails to embrace its cognizant nature, feeling more like a movie ripped right out of the 2000s like Snakes on a Plane with how downbeat its dialogue comes across. The alleged comedic writing also fails to capture the crystal-clear insanity on display – even the poster paints a better picture of the ludicrous enjoyability sadly missing from the final product.
There isn’t much to ride home about when discussing the performances. If the quality of the acting is what you’re looking for in a movie titled Cocaine Bear, then you are going to be significantly disappointed. The performances aren’t anything to write home about, but at the end of the day, they didn’t need to be. Keri Russell and Isiah Whitlock Jr are the standouts, with the late, great Ray Liotta being as wonderful as he ever was in his typecast mobster role.
Cocaine Bear was an interesting movie to review. There were plenty of moments that captured the initial intention of the film, but these trailer-bait scenes were unfortunately overshadowed by a myriad of meaningless plot elements that only existed to get characters into a confrontation with the black bear.
If you’re looking to satisfy the side of you which craves violence, Cocaine Bear features somewhat satisfying kills and competent acting, but your enjoyment of the film will depend solely on your tolerance for meaningless story arcs and underdeveloped characters; a factor which resulted in a perfectly average movie.