Bonkers fun! Cocaine Bear is just what you imagine it to be: no holds barred carnage meets slapstick campy comedy. Inspired by the true story of a drug run gone wrong, this movie will keep you laughing from beginning to end. When it comes to the bear carnage, it’s delivers in spades; but, suffice it to say, the human characters are mostly annoyingly flat and uninteresting, save discount Officer Winslow. That’s not to say that you’ll be underwhelmed–quite the contrary–I’ve little doubt that you won’t laugh as much as I did! If you’re a fan of horror comedies, you’ll likely find Cocaine Bear to be in the vein of the brilliant Tucker and Dale vs Evil, but ultimately less cleverly written.
After a 500-pound black bear consumes a significant amount of cocaine and embarks on a drug-fueled rampage, an eccentric gathering of cops, criminals, tourists, and teenagers assemble in a Georgia forest.
Directed by Elizabeth Banks and written by Jimmy Warden, audiences will encounter a movie wherein the bear scenes were written first, and received the most care, while the human characters and stories mostly received demonstrably less care and attention. Fortunately, there are a couple of human characters that were crafted with more care, but most of them are flat and lifeless. Moreover, few of the characters will prompt you to care enough about their survival, and you’ll mostly be rooting for the bear.
If you’re interested in the true story upon which this movie is based, in real life, the bear OD’d after consuming the massive amounts of cocaine. That’s it. In fact, you can see the bear, wearing a hat, on display in a Kentucky mall. This presents the best possible setup for this movie, because the inciting incident is true, while everything else is completely fictionalized. This vast creative latitude is the perfect canvas on which to paint this wild and crazy movie! Cocaine Bear may not be one that earn the rewatchability that Tucker and Dale does, but it’s certainly one to watch on the BIG SCREEN with a group of friends, and just turn you brains off to enjoy the highly entertaining spectacle.
Come for the ridiculous setup and stay for the hilarious kills! From the moment the movie opens, you are queued into the story and antics you are about to encounter in the wild. But this movie would not be nearly as entertaining if it wasn’t for the heavy dose of comedy to act as an emotional reset between the kills. Everything about this movie’s plot is utterly ludicrous. And the character mix is equally bonkers. Wherein the movie could’ve be stronger is in the various character subplots and dialogue, and the human characters could have been more interesting.
But all in all, it’s a fun movie that will make you laugh and even jump!
Ryan teaches Film Studies and Screenwriting at the University of Tampa and is a member of the Critics Association of Central Florida and Indie Film Critics of America. If you like this article, check out the others and FOLLOW this blog! Interested in Ryan making a guest appearance on your podcast or contributing to your website? Send him a DM on Twitter. If you’re ever in Tampa or Orlando, feel free to catch a movie with him.