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Review: Cocaine Bear

The title's better than the movie ...

There are three ingredients to make a "cult classic" movie: (1) an absurd premise; (2) a low budget; and (3) actors who aren't entirely sure what they're supposed to be doing. Cocaine Bear has two of the three. And that's the problem.


The central premise of the movie is pretty ludicrous. In the mid-80's, a drug dealer throws a duffel bag of cocaine out of an airplane over a southern forest and a wandering bear gets into it. Apparently, this actually happened in real life (which is why the movie has alternatively proclaimed it is "based on" or "inspired by" a true story--the latter being more accurate). Whereas the real bear dropped dead, the Cocaine Bear bear develops a nose for coke, takes on super powers, and goes on a seemingly endless, drug-fueled bloody bender. No one is spared (least of all, the audience). There's more horror than humor here. Park rangers, drug dealers, European hikers ... they all come to learn, in grisly fashion, that bears and cocaine just don't mix.


Oh, there's some half-hearted attempts to string together a number of plot threads: something about a couple of kids who played hookie, a drug dealer's son seeking his redemption, some love interests. They're all paltry and spread way too thin. And the only chemistry on the screen is the drugs. Nothing in any of the storylines really matter, and the actors all act accordingly.


But, then, that's not why you're going to see this movie, right? You want to see a bear on cocaine, right? 


Alas, the star of the show is not as cool as she could have been. The bear scenes (almost all of which are CGI) come off as pretty boring. There's no shock, no awe, and not very much to laugh at.


This could have been a funny movie. But it isn't.


It's not a particularly good horror movie, either. There's no real suspense, no dark, lurking menace. And WAY too many half-baked plot lines that never come together. 


So that leaves a "cult classic," which, I think, is what the producers were aiming for. Cocaine Bear has its absurd premise and more than ample meandering acting. The problem, though, is that with a $35 Million production budget, you can't really pretend it's been filmed on the cheap. Which is part of the fun of the old cult classics. Basically, the movie's overdosed.


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