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StoReviews: “Cocaine Bear” misses the mark as a comedy and a thriller


The movie “Cocaine Bear” created a fictional storyline for what might have happened when a drug smuggler dropped cocaine out of a plane over Chattahoochee National Forest in Georgia. In the movie, however, it wreaks havoc on all of the park visitors of the day.  In reality, this drop killed a bear that ingested so much cocaine it passed away before it did any damage.

The film follows a web of characters each being placed in the Chattahoochee for different reasons. Police officers are involved in tracking drug shipments. Drug dealers are involved in trying to find their lost  loot. A group of troublemaking teens and a park ranger are clashing in the park lodge, and a mother is looking for her daughter and her daughter’s friend who skipped school. 

The film was intensely bloody at times, with each collection of characters encountering the bear. The blood and gore seemed frankly inconsistent, with some scenes creating terrifying realities of a crazy bear, and others being so ridiculously bloody it may have been intended for comedic relief. I certainly wouldn’t recommend this film to those who are not fans of explicitly violent scenes, but also would clarify even to those who find that style unoffensive. Many may still be perplexed trying to figure out what emotion the scene is trying to evoke. The emotional confusion is not that big of a deal, if these scenes are meant to pull the plot along. However, the biggest downside of this film is that the plot seemed underdeveloped. 

The characters were given backstories in varied degrees, but for the most part, they weren’t compelling ones. It seemed that the film lacked the momentum of a truly great plot. In fact, “Cocaine Bear” too often felt like a one-joke movie that lasted a little too long. Gifted dramatic actors were tasked with empty roles, including Keri Russell as a protective mom, Isiah Whitlock Jr. as an irritated cop with a bland side plot involving a pet. By far the character with the most potential for development was Margo Martindale as a love-hungry park ranger who never gets her story further developed. The plot twists seemed irrelevant, including a betrayal that had little impact by the end of the film. The ending had strong sentimentality that seemed off given the rest of the vibe of the movie. Drug dealers finding out they have hearts too? A little basic for a movie about a drug-induced bear attack. 

“Cocaine Bear” isn’t a complete waste of a movie. It does have a fun camp vibe and explores a ridiculous plotline that gives a few laughs. However, for me, it wasn’t worth the time it took to watch it without a compelling plot to really move it along. I laughed, I covered my eyes, and I left the theater feeling slightly disappointed and perturbed. I would rate the film 2.5/5 Big Oles.

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