What is Witty Watching?

Cocaine Bear – Movie Review
February 28, 2023

Synopsis: An oddball group of cops, criminals, tourists, and teens converge on a Georgia forest where a giant black bear goes on a murderous rampage after unintentionally ingesting cocaine.
Director: Elizabeth Banks
Stars: Keri Russell, Alden Ehrenreich, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Ray Liotta, Brooklyn Prince

Cocaine Bear! Yes, we are about to review a film called Cocaine Bear!

Cocaine Bear is loosely based on the true story of a black bear overdosing on cocaine in Tennessee in the mid-1980s. Elizabeth Banks directs the film. While many will be familiar with Banks in front of the camera, she has directed such films as Charlie’s Angels and Pitch Perfect 2.

Banks has assembled a solid cast including Keri Russell (Felicity), O’Shea Jackson Jr (Straight Outta Compton), Alden Ehrenreich (Solo: A Star Wars Story), Brooklyn Prince (The Florida Project), Isiah Whitlock Jr. (The Wire) and the late Ray Liotta (Goodfellas). Banks has appeared in a few episodes of the award-winning Modern Family and tapped former co-star Jesse Tyler Ferguson to appear in the film.

In the film, Syd (Liotta) has some of his cocaine dropped in the woods, and he sends his son Eddie (Ehrenreich) and Daveed (Jackson Jr.) to retrieve it.

Meanwhile, middle schooler Dee Dee (Prince) and her friend Henry (Christian Convery) skip school. Dee Dee is annoyed that her mom, Sari (Russell), for changing their weekend plans, so the two youngsters go into the woods. The kids come across a bag of cocaine and start examining it. The next thing you know, there is a bear on the scene.

Worried about her daughter’s whereabouts, Sari heads into the woods with a park ranger to find the children.

We have all these elements in the woods, but we haven’t discussed the elephant—er, the bear—in the room. The bear is completely fascinated with cocaine; violence and hilarity ensue.

Cocaine Bear is a horror comedy but not horror in the sense of keeping you up at night, but it may give you pause before your next camping trip.

This film can easily be dismissed as silly, and some may do that, but it has an appeal. First, it’s unique. While most movies blend together when it comes to their plots, Cocaine Bear stands out.

This film has a strong cast and never feels like a ‘paycheck movie;’ the cast commits to their performances, which makes it even more enjoyable.

Credit needs to be given to the make-up crew as they did a fantastic job, making the film very realistic.

Even though the audience at the screening was engaged and enthusiastic, this film made me long for a packed cinema because seeing Cocaine Bear alongside a packed audience would be priceless. Banks has directed a very fun movie. Its plot seems out there, but it all just works.

Someone compared this to Snakes on a Plane, and with all due respect to the Samul L. Jackson ‘classic,’ this film is on another level. It just might go on to have cult status or spawn multiple sequels. Kids might start dressing up for Halloween as bears. Not saying that it will happen, but it could.

One thing is for sure; Cocaine Bear is a very fun watch that you should see!

Grade: B

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