“Cocaine Bear” will crack you up

“Cocaine Bear,” released on Feb. 24, tells the story of drugrunners dropping cocaine into a Georgia forest when, unfortunately, a bear beats them to picking up the drug load. The bear ingests more and more cocaine as the movie goes on, along with meeting and interacting with an assortment of unique groups.

The curious anticipation of this wild concept brought the movie surprising box office numbers. It has earned $55.6 million worldwide with a $35 million budget. Although they’ve yet to make a profit, this is still extremely impressive as they made their money in the midst of a Marvel movie, movies known for dominating the box office.

The best part of the movie is easily the bear herself. Any scene that the bear is in is the movie at its best with its humor and self awareness. The gore was plentiful and kept me entertained for the entire 95 minute runtime. The cast includes Alden Ehrenreich, O’Shea Jackson Jr, Keri Russell, and one of the final appearances of Ray Liotta before his death. I really enjoyed this cast as they play stereotypes, such as rednecks and kingpins. These different groups of people cross paths with the bear, making for funny, over the top interactions.

However, past the humor and cast, this movie tended to disappoint me. Although I enjoyed seeing the actors, I didn’t enjoy the actual characters they played, except for a select few. This is a shame as there were one or two characters in each storyline that I liked. Along with this, there are about 5 storylines going on throughout the movie, making the story convoluted for no particular reason. The crossing storylines were unnecessary for the goal of the movie’s experience.

Elizabeth Banks, the director of the movie, was trying to recapture the feel of a 1980s movie to complement the 1985 setting. There’s a foundational 80s synth score, but they’ll play a music cue for a specific moment that sounded too modern and at times only serves a comedic moment.

This leads to one of my biggest issues with the movie: it couldn’t pick the kind of comedy it wanted to be. At times it was slapstick, and then meta, and then dialogue that’s almost like stand-up comedy and it did not blend together well.

In my opinion, movies like this need to feel like they’ve climaxed in the third act to get that ultimate taste of B-movie fun. But this never quite reaches those heights for me. I can see the movie working on paper but I think the execution of it was underwhelming.
Even though this is a turn your brain off B-movie, as the target audience, I wasn’t a fan of the execution of a very funny concept inspired by a true story. For now, I’ll give it a 2.5 / 5.