Inconsistencies in ‘Cocaine Bear’ will not blow you away


Collegian | Madelyn Hendricks

Christian Ardnt, Staff Reporter

This is a film about a bear ingesting cocaine. Yes, you read that right. Oh, and it’s also loosely — emphasis on loosely — based on a true story.

Elizabeth Banks directs the true story of a black bear that consumed cocaine in 1985, then overdosed almost immediately after. However, Banks’ version tackles a heavily over-dramatized version of this tale. Instead of the bear overdosing, it goes on a cocaine-induced murderous rampage.


One thing that needs to be acknowledged before seeing “Cocaine Bear” is that it does not take itself seriously. Its tongue-in-cheek approach to the story is admirable and brutally apparent within the first minute of the film.

For example, at the beginning, it directly quotes an article about bears and immediately credits Wikipedia as the source. This quickly sets the stage for its comical and outrageously wild take on the initial story’s premise.

The general basis of this film consists of a drug dealer throwing duffel bags full of cocaine out of an airplane in an attempt to lessen the weight on the aircraft. Consequently, a massive black bear gets its paws on the cocaine and consumes multiple bags worth of the product.

The film’s story takes place through the numerous perspectives of different characters. However, the central plot point is a mother (Keri Russell) trying to find her daughter (Brooklynn Prince) after she escaped from the bear during a hike in the woods.

However, a group of drug dealers affiliated with the lost cocaine go into the same forest in an attempt to retrieve the product. This side story provides an alternate view in contrast with the mother’s perspective as each group deals with the bear in different ways.

The other characters and storylines are mostly there for content filler and act as just another corpse for the bear to gruesomely pulverize. Often to the detriment of “Cocaine Bear,” the grotesque violence becomes overused, tedious and ultimately unfunny.

At the film’s conclusion, there is, regrettably, much left to be desired.

Many characters have little to no development. The film’s attempt to give some background to the characters falls short and leaves the audience wondering why they should be invested in these individuals in the first place.

Many of the comedic beats of the movie just barely stick the landing. There were multiple times throughout the film where it took a situation and attempted to make it funny, but the theater remained dead silent and left the atmosphere with an awkward pause until the next scene started.


A major focus of this film is its use of gore and violence to produce laughs and provide the advancement of plot points. Given this movie is an action/thriller/dark comedy, that is to be expected. However, many times throughout the film, it is overused and unnecessary, which detracted from the overall comedy.

“Cocaine Bear” has some solid comedic events considering its outrageous premise. However, many of the tropes fall flat after being reused too many times throughout the film.

Overall, “Cocaine Bear” is a semi-entertaining watch with some raunchy and overused jokes sandwiched in between. Consequently, this movie stands as an utterly forgettable experience. If you have absolutely nothing to do and want to watch a movie this weekend that doesn’t require much focus, look no further than “Cocaine Bear.”

Reach Christian Arndt at or on Twitter @CSUCollegian.