‘Cocaine Bear’… Should Be More Unhinged!

When you think of a movie titled ‘Cocaine Bear‘ and you look at the poster where a bear is raging from a cloud of cocaine and it’s rated R, you automatically know what type of movie you’re walking into. In fact, one of the best things about this movie is its marketing. It is understandably getting people’s attention, it is straight to the point with its concept and it knows damn well the type of movie it is. Box-office expectations are being surpassed and people are talking about it more than they are talking about the new ‘Ant-Man’ and for an original movie to be doing that, it’s always a welcome thing. However, I cannot tell you that ‘Cocaine Bear’ is this richly self-aware movie that embraces its craziness and it’s this new cult classic because it really is not. Sorry to be a downer but ‘Cocaine Bear‘ is quite frankly, not crazy enough and when you have a movie with this concept, that is a valid critique.

no spoilers are featured in this review for ‘Cocaine Bear‘.

Before diving into why this movie didn’t work for me, I want to state that my audience was loving it, they were lost in laughter most of the time. I went with a couple of friends and we were mostly indifferent to it. We shared the same complaints and thought the movie was just fine. To be fair, there is something to be said that when you experience a movie that is truly crazy and unhinged, it sets a standard for what is considered a crazy movie. For me, that standard is and will forever be Sam Raimi’s ‘Evil Dead 2’. It is a movie that is defined by its lack of restrictions. Anything Raimi and his team dreamed up, they made it happen. Claymation skeleton doing ballet? Got it! Headless corpse of a girlfriend running with a chainsaw after Bruce Campbell? They delivered. They thought outside the box and I am someone who truly appreciates it when a movie does that and although I realize that not every movie is gonna be ‘Evil Dead 2‘, I can appreciate the effort and ‘Cocaine Bear‘ just does not do anything remotely crazy for all the talk the marketing is doing. It is quite literally a movie about a bear on cocaine and they went with the most boring and predictable execution possible. Yes, maybe I’m expecting too much from a movie about a bear on cocaine but it’s undeniable that there is potential for a truly unhinged trip of a movie and this was just not it despite whatever the marketing keeps blabbing on about.

Usually, with these creature-features, a common complaint is that the creature isn’t featured enough and luckily for ‘Cocaine Bear‘, I was perfectly satisfied with how much she appeared. The problem moreso lies in the fact that the human characters created here are truly awful, not morally, just awfully written. It is also quite bizarre when you consider just how many damn characters there are in this movie. There is a cop and his dog, two drug dealers, a mother and a boy looking for her daughter, a sheriff and three teen bullies. Just about the most lifeless characters you can conjure up and yet the movie keeps on insisting that we care about their character arc because for some reason ‘Cocaine Bear’ felt like it had to give arcs to its insanely busy cast. Truthfully, I could not care any less for any of them, the children could’ve been devoured by the damn bear and I would’ve probably laughed harder than any attempt they had at cracking a joke. The humour and dialogue here are as predictable and corny as they can get and I do not care if it’s set in the eighties because that does not mean it gets away with it. Those big eighties movies got away with it most of the time because they were delightfully corny and cheesy. This is just an unfunny mess. It is just screaming and exclaiming the concept of the movie in as many different ways as possible and trying to pass it off as a joke. We get it, the bear is on cocaine, we truly do get it.

Just last month, ‘M3GAN‘ came out and left quite an impression and while I loved it, I thought that the movie could’ve gone more overboard with its insanity. I still stand by that and while I have the same critique here, I knew that ‘M3GAN‘ knows exactly the type of campiness it’s going for, it understood the tone perfectly, and it was only a matter of how much they used it. In ‘Cocaine Bear‘ little to no creativity is used. It’s as direct and boring as possible. There is this hilarious shot of Cocaine Bear coming out of this shadow, almost personifying it but that’s as camp as it gets. There are no POV shots of the bear, no inventive use of camerawork or animations to imply what the bear is feeling. It is actually insane to me, that they didn’t capitalize on getting the bear’s perspective at all into all of this. It sounds silly as hell but then again so is the movie. Imagine a POV shot of the bear seeing double or seeing animated butterflies or just anything out of the ordinary, hell a ‘Tom and Jerry‘ short has more imagination than this damn movie.

Overall, as silly as this review was, I truly do think that a crazier ‘Cocaine Bear‘ is a better movie. The one sequence that truly worked for me was the ambulance scene which I’m sure everyone loved. I think the movie earns its use of gore and horror quite well. The cast is just serviceable honestly, most of the characters were annoying. It was nice seeing Ray Liotta in a movie theatre, rest in peace to him. In my opinion, the standout was Margo Martindale who truly was hilarious but she wasn’t in there that long. Other than that, the best way I can describe this movie is the fact that in reality, they called this actual bear ‘Pablo Eskobear’ and not once was it mentioned or utilized in the movie. That should sum up just how much of a waste of potential this was.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Cocaine Bear‘ is now showing in cinemas.


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