Cocaine Bear Parent Guide
The movie is deliberately insane but it cleverly sticks to its lane and delivers the gory thrills audiences will expect.
Parent Movie Review
Andrew C. Thornton II (Matthew Rhys) is having a pretty good time slinging duffel bags full of cocaine out of an airplane - and sampling a little of the product. He can’t really fly the plane, but that’s not a problem, because he plans to parachute out with the last of the load and sell it. Those dreams come to an abrupt end when Thornton bumps his head jumping out the door, knocking himself out and rendering him unable to activate the chute. He splats down on an elderly man’s driveway, but the cocaine gets spread out over the Chattahoochee national park, where it is found and consumed by a black bear. With a snout covered in more of the Devil’s Dandruff than a powdered donut, the bear only has two goals: kill everything it sees and get more coke.
The drug-addled bear poses a particular problem for Sari (Keri Russell), a mother searching the park for her thirteen-year-old daughter, DeeDee (Brooklynn Prince), who is skipping school to paint in the forest. It’s also less than ideal for Eddie (Alden Ehrenreich) and Daveed (O’Shea Jackson Jr.), who have been sent by Syd (Ray Liotta) to recover the cocaine stash. And if you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise.
Cocaine Bear advertises itself as being “based on a true story”, but there are several creative liberties. In fact, most of the film is composed of creative liberties, because in the original incident, the bear ate 75 pounds of cocaine (especially impressive for a small black bear weighing under 200 pounds) and promptly died. Even bears aren’t supposed to have that much cocaine in them, not even in the mid-1980s.
To paraphrase the common line: no humans were mauled in the making of the original historical event – they are less lucky in the film. Our coked-up Ursus Americanus manages to maul about half a dozen unsuspecting park-goers, including teenagers, tourists, and park rangers, with varying levels of gore. Most of these unfortunate folks end up dismembered in some form or other, so expect some gruesome injuries on screen. While it may not make for good family entertainment, the peril might account for the staggering volume of profanity which saturates the film: Being chased by a bear cranked up on more nose candy than the entirety of Wall Street could easily prompt the 73+ f-bombs that litter the script.
It’s not exactly high-brow, but Cocaine Bear isn’t under any illusions. It’s deliberately insane, but it’s smart enough to feed the annoying characters to the titular critter, and to keep the runtime down and the pacing up. This is pure, unnatural, impossible, pre-processed, all-American entertainment. Besides, where else are you going to see what happens when a bear gets hold of serious stimulants? It’s not like they let you give the animals drugs at the local zoo. Not if you want to keep your membership, at any rate.
Directed by Elizabeth Banks. Starring Ray Liotta, Keri Russell, Margo Martindale. Running time: 95 minutes. Theatrical release February 24, 2023. Updated February 23, 2023
Rating & Content Info
Why is Cocaine Bear rated R? Cocaine Bear is rated R by the MPAA for bloody violence and gore, drug content and language throughout.
Violence: People are repeatedly mauled and dismembered by a large bear. A man is disemboweled and his intestines are devoured while he’s still alive. Several people are stabbed or shot. A character’s face is scraped off on pavement. There are scenes involving firearms.
Sexual Content: None.
Profanity: There are 73 sexual expletives, 29 scatological terms, and frequent uses of mild curses and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: One adult character and several animals are seen taking cocaine. Two kids are also eat cocaine, without significant effect. An adult character is briefly seen drinking, and some smoke tobacco.
Page last updated February 23, 2023
Related home video titles:
Other silly yet self-aware films include Willy’s Wonderland, Violent Night, Bodies Bodies Bodies, and Freaky. If you’re interested in other misadventures with killer bears, try the deeply strange Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey.