Cocaine Bear Won’t Be Satisfied with Just a Picnic Basket

The Stream: Although the special effects are decent, the rest of it looks pretty cheap.

The Big Screen: Very gory and also very funny.

The Final Bill: It’s a silly movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously and delivers exactly what it promises.

– Trip Fontaine
Director: Elizabeth Banks
Writers: Jimmy Warden
Stars: Keri Russell, Alden Ehrenreich, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Ray Liotta, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Margo Martindale, Jesse Tyler Ferguson
Genre: Comedy, Thriller
Rating: R for bloody violence and gore, drug content and language throughout
Runtime: 1 hour 30 minutes
Production Companies: Universal Pictures, Brownstone Productions, Lord Miller
Platform: In theaters on February 24, 2023
Notable Trailers: Mafia Mamma, The Machine, Renfield, Strays

Okay, Streamers! It’s here! The most anticipated movie of early 2023 has arrived. It’s Cocaine Bear! You know when you heard about this movie you were immediately intrigued. Like Snakes on a Plane before it, the title tells you everything you needed to know. There will be cocaine and there will be a bear. There will be a bear hopped up on cocaine. Let’s see if it lives up to its ridiculous promise.

Cocaine Bear is a comedy, action-thriller very loosely inspired by real events. In 1985, an American black bear ingested a duffel bag full of cocaine. Apparently, this cocaine had been dropped from an airplane by a drug smuggler, Andrew Thornton. In the movie, Thornton (Matthew Rhys) unloads his plane of multiple duffel bags of cocaine over a Georgia forest, which are then discovered by large black bear. The story follows multiple individuals as they trek through that forest and encounter the cocaine-fueled bear, including the following: a mom (Keri Russell) looking for her daughter, who skipped school to “paint the falls”; a drug kingpin (Liotta), his son (Ehrenreich) and his associate (Jackson), who are there to recover their lost load; a police detective (Whitlock) on a mission to stop the drug kingpin; and a bumbling forest ranger (Martindale). Cocaine-dusted hijinks ensue.

A movie like Cocaine Bear is all about experience. We are not expecting any hidden themes or morals to be shoehorned into this movie about a cocaine-addicted bear. Thankfully, this movie delivers on what it promises. It is surprisingly gruesome. A black bear on cocaine can be very dangerous, and the movie does not shy away from how crazy it can get. It gets very gory and very funny. The cast of characters that populate this movie do an excellent job of communicating their fear of this bear, but also, no one is taking it that seriously. Margo Martindale as the park ranger is the standout. Nevertheless, they all seem to recognize that it is a ridiculous premise, and their performances seem perfectly suited for a movie this insane.

Also, the bear itself looks pretty good. While this movie seems like it has a limited budget, the special effects used to animate the bear are actually good. The bear is appropriately lifelike and menacing when necessary. The special effects also add to the comedy throughout, especially how the bear moves fueled on its cocaine overdose, which makes the movie overall very enjoyable.

S2S: Official Rating Scale

Ultimately, Cocaine Bear is exactly what it says it is going to be. It is an over-the-top, crazy thrill ride through a park terrorized by a cocaine-fueled black bear. The cast is on board for the ridiculousness and deliver fun and engaging performances. The movie is funny and surprisingly gory. I think it is best experienced with a large group ready to be entertained, so I say get a big box of popcorn.