Cocaine Bear (2023) Review

By Allison Rose   X Formly Known as Twitter
3 Min Read

Cocaine Bear is a fun time but you should check your brain at the door. Trust me, you will enjoy the movie more if you do.

Cocaine Bear (2023) Review
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"If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" "Does a bear poop in the woods?  What if a 175-pound American black bear was wandering in said woo and came across a duffle bag full of cocaine? What if said bear ingested the duffle bag full of cocaine valued at $2 plus million at 1985 prices?  In real life, all we know is the bear died of an overdose, but in the world of movies "Pablo Escobear" went on a rampage killing half a dozen people because he was high.  The story is now a major motion picture called, appropriately, Cocaine Bear.

In September of 1985, Andrew C. Thorton II (Matthew Rhys; A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood) was smuggling drugs from Columbia when he was forced to dump his cargo over Tennessee's Chattahoochee River National Recreational Area and abandon the plane.  However, he was instantly killed when his main parachute failed to open.  Upon hearing of the crash, drug Kingpin Syd Dentwood (Ray Liotta; Goodfellas), sent Daveed (O'Shea Jackson, Jr.; Straight Outta Compton) and Syd's grieving son, Eddie (Alden Ehrenreich; Solo: A Star Wars Story) to the area to retrieve the drugs.  Unfortunately, the bear found the cocaine first and the rest, as they say, is history.

There was a certain type of humor that permeated comedy films in the late 70s / early 80s.  Movies, such as Caddyshack, Airplane, Meatballs, etc., had a silly kind of humor that was funny without treating the audience as if they were stupid.  Cocaine Bear reminds me of those comedy classics with laugh-out-loud scenes and some truly ridiculous moments.  Honestly, you put a high bear and some people in the woods, and the "skits" practically write themselves.

This movie offers an ensemble cast that blends so well that they seamlessly create comedy gold.  Margo Martingale (August: Osage County) has some priceless lines and she delivers them so matter-of-factly that you have to stop and think to yourself, "Did she really just say what I think she said?".  Jackson, Jr. was impressive in his first film and continues his "climb" here.  Liotta tended to play the criminal whether it is a mobster or a drug runner.  His talent will surely be missed. Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family) gives audiences a glimpse of his comedic genius and his scenes with Martingale are memorable.

Directed by Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games), the film has good pacing, never feeling as if it was dragging. Some of the establishing scenes were well shot and perfectly timed but Banks could have given the audience other views, especially from the bear, that would have made the movie more interesting and probably would have added even more laughs to the already funny film. The gorier moments could have rivaled almost any horror movie out there with limbs being ripped off and intestines being pulled from a body and ingested and while they are cringe-worthy, those moments had the audience laughing as well.

Sadly the real animal, Pablo Escobear, as it has been nicknamed, didn't have nearly as much fun as its fictional counterpart.  After eating the cocaine, it wandered from Tennessee to Georgia where it died of an overdose, then was stuffed and is now on display in a mall in Kentucky (a rather well-traveled bear!). However, for audiences, it gave fodder for a very funny, silly movie that is worth spending time and money on for the 90-minute run time.

For an industry that seems to love bad sequels and trilogies, the concept lends itself to a comedy franchise.  Imagine..."Heroine Beavers", "Molly muskrats",... the possibilities are endless.

Cocaine Bear is a fun time but you should check your brain at the door.  Trust me, you will enjoy the movie more if you do.

Grade: B

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For more information about Cocaine Bear visit the FlickDirect Movie Database. For more reviews by Allison Rose please click here.

Cocaine Bear images are courtesy of Universal Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

FlickDirect, Allison   Rose

Allison Rose, a Senior Correspondent and Critic at FlickDirect, is a dynamic presence in the entertainment industry with a communications degree from Hofstra University. She brings her film expertise to KRMS News/Talk 97.5 FM and broadcast television, and is recognized as a Tomatometer-Approved Critic. Her role as an adept event moderator in various entertainment industry forums underscores her versatility. Her affiliations with SEFCA, the Florida Film Critics Circle, and the Online Film Critics Society highlight her as an influential figure in film criticism and media.

Read More Cocaine Bear Reviews

Movie / Film Review
Cocaine Bear is a unique film. I never expected to enjoy it as much as I did. Even the audience I saw it with seemed thrilled by it. This film is worth the price of admission you won’t be disappointed.
Full Review | Grade: B


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