Cocaine Bear

Sometimes the title of a movie tells you everything you need to know about it. For example, “Dune” doesn’t explain very much. You would never know giant worms are a huge part of the story. On the other hand, “Snakes on a Plane” tells it all. In that vein we now have “Cocaine Bear” and no mystery here this about a black bear who gets into some cocaine and the mayhem that ensues afterwards

It’s the year 1985 (makes for a nostalgic soundtrack) and a drug dealer throws bags of cocaine from an airplane with the intent that his cohorts will then come pick it up at a forest in Georgia. Unfortunately, a bear ingests the contents before his crew and retrieve the precious cargo and turns an ordinarily peaceful creature into a killing machine. Meantime, several other folks are on their way to the forest too with no idea of what they are about to encounter.

That being said “Cocaine Bear” is far from perfect. In fact, it’s quite an uneven affair. The run time is only 95-minutes, but it feels like the film takes too much time for all the characters to reach the forest. Action beats should come at least at 10-minute marks, but the gaps take longer here. Sorry to say, but that falls onto director Elizabeth Banks’ lap. She made her feature length directing debut with “Pitch Perfect 2” and followed that up with “Charlie’s Angels” which was both a critical and box office bomb. It raised a lot of eyebrows when she was chosen to direct this title. Yes, a few the sequences involving the bear were a lot of fun and there are some great laughs here too, but that appears more of a product of Jimmy Warden’s screenplay, and not her directing.

Casting is also an issue here. Kerri Russell is one of the leads playing a mother whose daughter is caught in the forest when the bear is loose. At one point in the story, she is informed the bear has dragged off her child and she has no real reaction to this news. Any other parent would almost completely lose it if they heard such a thing, but Kerri barely reacts to that news. That either lies with her or Elizabeth Banks’ direction. There is another part where she is supposed to act scared because the bear is close by, again this is something she can’t pull off and while much of this picture is camp, you need to pull off that emotion to help sell this picture.

“Cocaine Bear” delivers exactly what it’s supposed to despite whatever flaws it does have. Sometimes we want movie where we don’t even have to think and if you don’t here, a good time will be had.

2.5 Swords