‘Cocaine Bear’ thrives with its ridiculous plot, outstanding gore and hilarious screenplay

Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures

Content Warning: Discussion of drug-related topics and events

Let’s travel back in time to 1985. You’re watching the news and hear that a 175-pound black bear has overdosed on 75 pounds — $2 million worth — of cocaine after an airborne drug smuggle over Tennessee and Georgia went awry. 

Now, let’s flash forward to the present. You’re sitting in a movie theater, or maybe on your couch, watching a dark comedy/action/thriller film inspired by the very same drug-fueled event that took place in 1985.

“Cocaine Bear” officially roared into theaters on Feb. 24. After reading its back story and watching the trailer, I just had to see it. Was it what I expected? Absolutely not. 

It was 100 times better than anything my imagination could have cooked up.

The film follows the same storyline as its inspiration, but with its own set of unique characters and its gore factor turned on high.

“Cocaine Bear” features a plethora of characters as they encounter the coked-up bear, but the most notable include Dee Dee (Brooklynn Prince), Henry (Christian Convery), Daveed (O’Shea Jackson Jr.), Eddie (Alden Ehrenreich), Stache (Aaron Holliday) and Bob (Isiah Whitlock Jr.).

The story follows little groups of characters as they journey throughout Chattahoochee National Forest and eventually stumble upon each other — and the crazed bear. 

The pace in “Cocaine Bear” is perfect and allows for excellent character development and time for the audience to connect with the cast, which becomes pretty vital when Cocaine Bear decides to show no mercy.

Weaving together substories, humor, gore and mystery can be difficult to do well, but the writers seamlessly intertwined all of these elements which resulted in a highly entertaining and engaging film.

According to IMDB, “Cocaine Bear” is rated R for “bloody violence and gore, drug content and language throughout.”

The violence and gore in this movie is pretty brutal. However, the way the gore is inflicted is so outlandish and ridiculous, that you can’t help but laugh through the pain. A great example is when Cocaine Bear snorts a line of coke off a severed leg. It’s so gross, but also so dumb that the audience can’t help but crack up. 

[Poster for the movie “Cocaine Bear,” directed by Elizabeth Banks.]
Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures

But viewers be warned: this movie is not for the weak stomached. You will see some horrific things, but if you’re able to put on a brave face and find the humor, you’ll no doubt be entertained.

“Cocaine Bear” has a fair amount of jump scares too, that get you while your guard is down, so you’ll never see it coming. 

Every actor in this film does an outstanding job embodying the pure terror that comes with fighting a bear on a coke trip, but a few go above and beyond and manage to be absolutely hilarious in the process.

The winner for this in my eyes was 13-year-old Christian Convery. His portrayal of Henry was off the charts. Every joke hit and every line was delivered to perfection. To sum it up, Convery is a little comedic powerhouse. 

However, Convery doesn’t overshadow everyone else. Rather, his humor is perfectly complemented by the rest of the cast. Specifically, his sarcastic wise-cracks at Peter (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) made the audience erupt in a fit of laughter.

“Cocaine Bear” was directed by Elizabeth Banks, who you may know as Effie Trinket from the Hunger Games franchise. The film was written by Jimmy Warden, who also worked on the screenplay for “The Babysitter” and its sequel, “The Babysitter: Killer Queen.”

Despite the buzz around the film, the adaptation of Warden’s screenplay for “Cocaine Bear” seemed to shock him entirely. In an interview with Variety, Warden said, “The truth is, no, I didn’t think that any respectable studio would make a movie called ‘Cocaine Bear’ and keep all the s— that I had written.”

“Cocaine Bear” is a movie that you have to let yourself enjoy. If you go in planning to be overly critical and uptight, all you’re going to see is a stupid CGI bear alongside some demented, dark humor. But if you sit back and enjoy the high, “Cocaine Bear” might just become your new favorite movie.

Seeing “Cocaine Bear” on the big screen is the best way to experience this film. Laughing, cringing and almost gagging with your fellow viewers makes your “Cocaine Bear” experience whole.

“Cocaine Bear” is now in theaters, and it’s an absolute must see.

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