Cocaine Bear is a gory stoner film directed by Elizabeth Banks and written by Jimmy Warden. It was given a theatrical release by Universal Pictures before making its way to the Peacock streaming service. This review may contain some light spoilers.
Drug dealer Syd (Ray Liotta) loses his massive shipment of cocaine after his smuggler accidentally dumps it in the Chattahoochee–Oconee National Forest before dying. A black bear stumbles on some of the stash and it makes her act rabid. Syd sends his son Eddie (Alden Ehrenreich) and his friend Daveed (O’Shea Jackson Jr.) to retrieve it, unaware of the bear. Police detective Bob (Isiah Whitlock Jr.) hears word of it and heads to the location. Meanwhile, single mom Sari (Keri Russell) arrives looking for her daughter Dee Dee (Brooklynn Prince) and her friend Henry (Christian Convery) with the help of trigger-happy Park Ranger Liz (Margo Martindale), but they soon encounter the crazed bear who is determined to get a bigger fix.
I am not going to lie, I was looking forward to this movie. The trailers hyped up this movie as did all of the social media presence. Going into it, I do not know what I was expecting, but my expectations were high. To my displeasure, I was left incredibly disappointed.
For one thing, the movie relies way too much on gore to get laughs. This was fine for the first twenty minutes of its ninety-five-minute runtime, but it got old very fast. Eventually, it became cringe-inducing and bland.
Now, the bear being CGI did not bother me in the slightest. Since the movie was presented as a comedy and Banks is one of my many celebrities feigning care for the environment, I knew this would be the case. The bear actually had some of the best moments of the film. As for the acting, it is competent, but not much else.
Also, the movie is typical of Hollywood morals. The single mom who is also a nurse is good at everything. She is athletic, clever, strategic, and consistently presented as the brains of the outfit. However, she never chastises the terrible potty mouth her daughter has and though her daughter’s actions are what led to many of the dangers in the film, the brat gets rewarded with a trip.
Not to mention, only one of the bad guys faces any real consequences. Ayoola Smart’s character, a dirty cop named Reba, leaves her partner to die after betraying him. This is never revisited and she never expresses any guilt over the situation. She just goes on about her merry life. Same with Eddie and Daveed. Because Eddie is a widower, we are expected to care about him. He is a drug-dealing thug who often leaves his son with his father who is the leader of the gang. Daveed is also presented as a “good guy” even though he has no problem just blowing off people’s heads, but he is a good friend to Eddie or something.
Meanwhile, Bob and Liz are made to be a mockery even though they were just doing their jobs, but no, they face humiliating ends for yucks from the audience. This is typical of Hollywood morals. The bad guys are actually not bad because they have the sads, but the good guys are actually not good because “muh guns.”
Circling back to Dee Dee, what an obnoxious little brat. I do not believe Elizabeth Banks has ever met children outside of the elite private schools she and her fellow celebrities send their kids to. It is not cute or funny hearing a child utter four-letter words constantly. More directors should get visits from CPS as well as the parents who allowed it.
If I have learned anything, it is that Banks does not appear to have the chops to make it as a director. This third attempt was another misfire. She could not even make a funny true story about a high bear come to life. While the trades in the entertainment industry are happy to pay lip service to her, I do not and will not.
Bottom line, Cocaine Bear fails to live up to the hype. Its humor fades away pretty quickly and becomes nothing more than another stoner film that will soon be forgotten.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Strong foul language, Bloody and gory violence, Substance abuse
FAVORITE QUOTE: I’ve got seven more days of JOHN!
Check out the trailer below:
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