Universal Pictures has been on a nice roll as of late by focusing more on silly, feel good cinema. Violent Night was a holiday themed action romp that over performed and M3GAN also showed the killer doll formula still had plenty of legs. In comes Cocaine Bear, a delightfully ridiculous plot about a bear who eats cocaine and goes on a rampage. It’s absurd. It’s over-the-top, and there are flaws, yet the film is still a fun experience at the theater.
You should know what to expect when going into a movie called Cocaine Bear and for the most part it delivers on those expectations. It’s humorous. It provides a collection of entertaining kills, and this hodge podge of characters all work relatively well. The movie sets the tone right out of the gate with a comical atmosphere that works in charismatic music and a dark sense-of-humor. It gets you in the mood for ridiculous and goofy insanity and when it hits, Cocaine Bear is a wild ride. Seeing a massive bear high on cocaine and killing anything in its path is comically savage, and overall, I enjoyed the creativity of the kills and I think the gratuitous violence is spot on.
The characters are also a bright spot, for the most part. It’s such a random group however they carry the film fine enough. You get a couple of kids Dee Dee (Brooklynn Prince), and Henry (Christian Convery) who are on a trek to paint some rocks by the falls who stumble across some cocaine which provides some good old-fashioned kids on drugs humor. Dee Dee’s mother Sari (Keri Russell) will come looking for them which tosses her into the mix. Mountain Ranger Liz (Margo Martindale), and hiking guide Peter (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) will come along with Sari to look for the kids. Then you get the drug dealers Eddie (Alden Ehrenreich), and Daveed (O’Shea Jackson Jr.), led by Syd (Ray Liotta) who set out to find their missing drugs. And with a cop named Bob (Isiah Whitlock Jr.) on their trail, there are plenty of targets for the bear to chew on, and plenty of cocaine littered in the forest to keep the drug fueled rampage going throughout.
On the downside, the gimmick of a cocaine induced bear is goofy fun. But this is a one gimmick movie, and it does wear out during sections. This is a 90-minute movie, but it does feel longer than that, and while the violence of a bear wreaking havoc is mindless fun, the stretches of storytelling does bring down the energy a bit. It’s by no means a deal breaker because after the pace slows, it does kick back up again relatively quick. But unlike a film such as Lake Placid that balanced just enough of a story, with just enough character development added to the gimmick to make itself a lasting film. Cocaine Bear is limited. It’s a fun movie to have some drinks and go see with friends, but its shortcomings will potentially keep it from being memorable.
Anthony J. Digioia II © 2023 SilverScreen Analysis. All Rights Reserved.