REVIEW: Cocaine Bear (2023)

Unlike the majority of movies and television discussed on this site, Universal Pictures’ Cocaine Bear is an incredibly difficult movie to review. Cocaine Bear is not an intelligent movie. It is not well-acted, well-written, or well-done, and the script is utterly atrocious. But hot damn if it isn’t a great steaming pile of fun. In the vein of all the best horror comedies, Cocaine Bear is utterly and entirely, without pretense, a turn-your-brain-off fun flick. The moment an audience member evaluates this movie with a critical eye, countless plot holes, insane decisions, and numerous flaws become evident. If you prefer a more intelligent entertainment experience, Cocaine Bear is definitely not the movie for you. If you and your buddies want to get wasted and watch a fun and insane movie together, Cocaine Bear is unequivocally the movie for you.

Cocaine Bear has one of the simplest plots imaginable. Some cocaine gets lost in the forest, and a bear gets high before trying to kill everyone. While the film is technically based on historical events, it is as historically accurate as Quentin Tarantino’s alternate history films. None of the film’s events are even remotely believable or capable of comprehension. The bear is, at one moment, a tank able to take out an ambulance. The next, she’s a stealth ninja, silently slaughtering people while remaining entirely unseen. If the audience is able to embrace the stupidity and laugh at the farcical nature of the film, this may be one of the most enjoyable viewing experiences they’ve had in some time.

The biggest issue with Cocaine Bear, which is hard to ignore even when turning your brain off, is a problem shared by many grandiose action films such as Transformers and Godzilla. That problem is the human factor. The film is flush with an unnecessary number of characters, all with slightly more screen time than is warranted. For many of these characters, the moment they come on screen, the bear is immediately missed. Every scene with the bear is hilarious and fun, making any departure from her inherently uninteresting. This problem is made far worse by several characters more than the rest, as their jokes rarely land well.

Cocaine Bear

The failure of these jokes might be partially due to the actors’ performances or the direction they were given because the jokes sound funny enough on paper. However, Alden Ehrenreich and the two cops in the film are incredibly distracting and uninteresting, hamming up their performances to such a degree that they exacerbate the human problem further than any of the others. For example, as shown in the trailer, Alden’s character is nearly crushed beneath the weight of the bear before identifying it as a female, stating that the bear’s genitals are right next to his ear despite the fact that his head is between the bear’s front paws. This startlingly flawed grasp of anatomy is the basis of the joke. Yet, the absurdity is carried to an extreme, even for this movie, making the joke fall flat.

One of the only characters who does not contribute to the human problem at all is Christian Convery’s Henry, a 10-year-old boy who spends the majority of the movie as high as the bear. This young actor shines above his adult costars, becoming easily the most enjoyable character on the screen.

Cocaine Bear

It’s almost impossible to talk about Cocaine Bear in a more detailed or thorough manner. So very little of substance occurs in the film; it is all utter insanity. This makes for an incredibly short review. Cocaine Bear is undoubtedly a fun and enjoyable watch, but entirely mindless and soulless. The best way to watch a film like this is inebriated in one way or another. This is a bad movie in all the best ways. Perhaps the greatest joke of Cocaine Bear is one that does not exist within the film itself: is the humorous reality that it has made more money domestically on its opening Friday than Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp Quantumania did in its second Friday of release. That only makes this harebrained, acid-induced farce of a film all the funnier.

Cocaine Bear (2023)

Plot - 2
Acting - 4
Direction/Editing - 4
Music/Sound - 5.5
Fun - 9



Cocaine Bear is undoubtedly a fun and enjoyable watch but entirely mindless and soulless. The best way to watch this film is inebriated or high in one way or another. This is a bad movie in all the best ways.

Comments (1)

February 26, 2023 at 6:01 pm

A Kung Fu Panda / Cocaine Bear crossover might work.

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