Turn your brain off movies is a type of genre that for sure exists. A type of movie that is very self aware of what it’s trying to be and nothing more. A film that throws out crazy ideas and is completely bonkers. We get these movies every year and I’m a huge sucker for them. This year gives us this genre with Cocaine Bear! A movie that is based loosely from a true story. Most “based on a true story” movies often exaggerate what really happened, but Cocaine Bear takes it on a whole other level. It is a horror comedy that follows a cocaine addicted bear causing mayhem every where it goes. I, for whatever reason, thought it would be a good idea to bring my mom to this wild and crazy flick. To my surprise, my mom and I walked out of the theater smiling. Hell, my mom even walked out saying the movie had a lot of great messages in it. Walking in with low expectations, Cocaine Bear won us over with its silliness, charm and over the top craziness. The movie does fall flat in the first half, but it quickly takes another hit of the snow powder and goes into overdrive in the second half. I can easily say that this is one movie that is original and nothing we have ever seen before.
Cocaine Bear is the type of movie you wouldn’t think would have a lot of deep themes, but it does. I was shocked that my mom of all people could pick them out so easily as well. There’s actually a good amount of deep subjects that you can pull from the film. The most apparent is drugs and how addiction can be a major issue. Addiction is something that many people deal with in our society and it's great to see a movie that showcases that. This movie is a D.A.R.E. commercial in a way. Really shows the destructive side of drugs. Although it’s all fun and games in the movie, there are some really violent and horrific scenes in it as well. Elizabeth Banks behind the camera wants to share this message the best way she can, which is showing a bear ripping people apart. Ironically bringing my mom to this movie, the film talks heavily about motherhood. It shows what a mom is willing to do for her kids. Hell, you can even say that this movie is a fucked up family movie. I think we were both surprised to get these themes in the movie, especially in the “turn your brain off” genre. It is deeper than one would think. At the same time, the movie leans heavily on its ridiculousness.
The bear is the best part of the movie. The opening scene really sets the tone of how silly and intense the movie will be. The first 10 minutes had a quick moment of laughter and then went straight into the brutality. The mixture of the tones did feel off at times and that's ok. I can even say that about the whole movie. The movie tries to be funny, but hits its jokes maybe only half the time. When it does hit though, the movie is hilarious. Sadly there are times where it just seemed forced. That the movie is trying too hard to be ridiculous in an already ridiculous situation. When things do become violent, it is brutal beyond belief. I’ve seen a lot of hardcore scenes before, but there were moments that were too much for even myself. I do have to say that there are two specific scenes that I loved. One had to do with an ambulance and the other one when the bear passes out from the cocaine. Those scenes alone, are worth the price of admission. First half of the movie was very slow and didn’t have too much of the bear, which the whole movie should have focused on. When the movie gets going, that's when the real enjoyment begins.
Overall Cocaine Bear is exactly what you think it is. When seeing the trailer and premise, you know the movie isn't gonna be Oscar worthy. I don't know the true story, but I’m sure this movie is far from what really happened, so please don’t get fooled by it being a biography of sorts. This is just a crazy movie about a high octane bear on cocaine. Nothing more and nothing less. A movie that will have people talking about it for awhile. With word of mouth, the movie has become almost a cult classic already. Elizabeth Banks as a director, is a sort of a mix bag for me. She is really good at some things, but some decisions in this movie had me boggled. I wish the jokes landed a lot more, but the bear really did save the day when it came to the humor of the movie. Most horror fans will really appreciate this creature feature too. It is already rumored that Elizabeth Banks wants to do Cocaine Shark, which if this becomes a series of movies, I guess I’m down for it. There will always be some likability to these flicks and I'm ok to have them keep coming. Cocaine Bear might be just a one and done for me, but I still think its worth checking out!
Written By: Frederick Nuti