“Mistakes Were Made”—A Cocaine Bear Review

How A Bear Unites Us All In Humor


Film promo poster for Cocaine Bear (2023).

*Media Spoilers: *This article contains spoilers about Cocaine Bear. Please be aware before reading.

In the world of an evermore homogeneous Hollywood, people may be looking for something new, something peculiar, something completely different. Cocaine Bear checks all three of those boxes to perfection, at the right time, too. Despite the questionable acting and a crackpot plot this movie manages to deliver an enjoyable experience which gets the whole audience laughing. There is a value to these types of flicks, one that breaks the modern movie mold which so many anticipated features have fallen victim to in the past.

The movie starts off with a hilarious cold open in which a crazed U.S. drug smuggler is by all appearances throwing away millions of dollars worth of cocaine—for no apparent reason. He then tries to make a daring parachute escape from his plane, when he is knocked out, and dies.

Surprisingly, this is the one factually correct part of the movie.

The opening sets the tone going into the rest of the plot: a comedy/horror that will deliver on the guts and gore as well as the laughter and fun. What is more enjoyable than watching a bear going on a cocaine-fueled rampage? 

Following the opening, the first half of the movie is surprisingly not focused all that much on the bear itself. Rather, we spend time getting to know the future vict… er, I mean characters of this movie. Our colorful cast includes a pair of drug dealers attempting to recover the lost cocaine, a mother on a search for her kids, and a park ranger on a quest to kill the “Cocaine Bear.”

While they all have their moments, none have enough time to receive any meaningful character development. Instead the different plot lines are weaved throughout the runtime, which may be this movie’s detriment, with so much time spent switching from group to group it’s hard to become invested in all of them. However, when cocaine bear rears its ugly head the entertainment level goes through the roof, which to be honest, is the reason anyone showed up to watch this movie in the first place. Despite the long build up, once you hit the climax it really is total madness, exactly what I was hoping for when walking into the theater. 

Cocaine Bear is also notable for being the last film for esteemed actor, Ray Liotta, who sadly passed away a short time after filming concluded. He serves as the main antagonist for the movie (along with a certain bear on cocaine, of course) being the local drug kingpin driving the conflict. While this might not be the role he is remembered for (he is also known for Goodfellas and Field of Dreams) he gave an amazing performance nonetheless. Moreover, he was hilarious and brought this sense of realness to the character, which especially helped when paired with all the absurdity taking place in the final act. 

Cocaine Bear provides a great amount of entertainment, it would be worth the watch with a couple friends. We need more movies like Cocaine Bear, people are tired of safe and formulaic movies. Bring on the absurdity and the outlandish ideas!