On some stage, you do have at hand it to films like Cocaine Bear, Common’s new black comedy from director Elizabeth Banks a few coked-up bruin gallivanting via the woods, mauling unsuspecting people, and doing strains off its victims’ dismembered limbs. Just by spelling out after which relentlessly over-delivering on its ridiculous premise for an hour and a half, Cocaine Bear instantly units itself aside (in a great way) from most of the extra comedic “cerebral” horrors and thrillers the movie attracts inspiration from. However enjoyable because the film is, the identical extra-ness that makes it work so effectively at first in a short time turns into greater than a bit an excessive amount of as Cocaine Bear retains making an attempt to up the ante when what it actually wants is to decelerate and relax.
Kinda sorta primarily based on the actual story of the 175-pound black bear that grew to become well-known in 1985 for overdosing on cocaine misplaced by drug traffickers in Tennessee, Cocaine Bear imagines a actuality the place doing that a lot blow would drive a bear to go on a murderous rampage moderately than kill it. Nobody’s initially clued into simply how a lot cocaine smuggler Andrew C. Thornton (Matthew Rhys) dumps out of his airplane over the Chattahoochee-Oconee Nationwide Forest in a intelligent however ill-conceived try at hiding from the authorities throughout a giant run. When large bricks of the white powder start to show up all through the park, although, it isn’t lengthy earlier than Thornton’s dump turns into the topic of an area information frenzy that places cocaine on most everybody’s minds much more than it already is.
For cops like Bob (Isiah Whitlock Jr.) and Reba (Ayoola Sensible), the coke’s an indication that recognized kingpin Syd (Ray Liotta) is making huge strikes, whereas individuals like Syd’s son Eddie (Alden Ehrenreich) and Eddie’s pal Daveed (O’Shea Jackson Jr.) see it as a multitude they’re going to have to wash up. Between her new boyfriend and keeping track of her daughter, quintessential ’80s mother Sari (Keri Russell) is just too busy to pay all that a lot consideration to no matter nonsense is happening within the forest. However when Dee Dee (Brooklynn Prince), Sari’s center schooler, and her greatest pal Henry (Christian Convery) determine to ditch college to hang around within the wilderness in the future, they don’t understand simply how a lot hazard they’re wandering into or what kind of wild experience they’re in for.
Every of Cocaine Bear’s human characters has their very own causes for wandering into the park, they usually’re effectively conscious of what kind of issues they need to be watching out for below regular circumstances. However for all of their planning and imprecise information of what to do after they encounter wild animals, none of them have any thought what to do as soon as they begin individually operating into the feminine bear whose primary focuses all through the movie are frolicking, discovering extra coke, and tearing aside something that will get in her approach.
It really isn’t a knock in opposition to Cocaine Bear to say that there isn’t all that rather more to the campy, tongue-in-cheek movie past the fundamental components of screenwriter Jimmy Warden’s script, which rapidly units to bringing much more characters like park ranger Liz (Margo Martindale) and animal conservationist Peter (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) into the image. A lot in the identical approach that Common’s M3gan absolutely leaned into its goofier qualities whereas joking about dolls killing kids, Cocaine Bear needs you chuckling at its absurdity as you’re watching a hulking, totally unconvincing CGI bear journey balls and eat individuals.
It’s apparent — each from Cocaine Bear’s framing and from considered one of its extra memorable deaths — that the film’s making an attempt to faucet into a really related form of sensible however barely batshit vitality that made Renny Harlin’s Deep Blue Sea such an instantaneous basic. However by the point that the bear mainlines its second bag stuffed with mud, you’ll be able to already see that Cocaine Bear simply doesn’t know how one can create a sustained ambiance of rigidity and really feel the way it’s making an attempt to inundate you with disturbing imagery as an alternative.
The ironic factor is that being much less violent isn’t precisely what Cocaine Bear, a film about an animal going apeshit, wants. Relatively, it’s affected by a curious little bit of bloat stemming from simply what number of totally different subplots it tries to weave collectively as much more characters like European hikers Elsa (Hannah Hoekstra) and Olaf (Kristofer Hivju) and a trio of knife-wielding teenagers cross paths with the bear. A lot of Cocaine Bear’s characters find yourself dying in funny-ish ways in which type of underline the way you’re not meant to change into all that concerned in any of their particular person lives. However there are so many flatly characterised gamers operating round within the woods ready to get devoured up that it turns into onerous to not really feel like Cocaine Bear’s an overlong SNL sketch in determined want of a trim and some rewrites.
Cocaine Bear’s not with out its charms, and each Convery and Martindale ship exceptionally pleasant performances that reinforce how just a bit bit extra substance for different characters may have completed wonders to make all of them extra memorable. To actually benefit from the film, although, you’re going to should be in precisely the correct of headspace and have a excessive tolerance for pure, uncut ridiculousness.