When a movie decides to call itself COCAINE BEAR, it promises to deliver two things and this one succeeds in both. While it easily could have fallen into the bottom ranks of a cash-grabbing TV parody, this one uses all its Hollywood resources to provide 90 minutes of pure absurdity and hilarious hijinks. The story is taken from an actual real event, but anyone watching can assume that quite a few liberties have been taken. I’m sure many fans will scour the internet after watching this to get the details.
COCAINE BEAR opens with a drug smuggler dumping drugs into the forest below as his plane has malfunctioned and is about to crash. The cocaine ends up in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest where a black bear inhales the goods, resulting in an angry and hungry predator. Luckily, there’s plenty of cocaine and it’s scattered all over the forest. The bear follows its scent which leads him to several characters we get to meet throughout the film. These characters include a nurse (Keri Russell) who is looking for kids who ditched school and the scene-stealing park ranger (Margo Martindale) who helps her search. They all have a range of knowledge when it comes to bears and drugs, which makes the movie that much more entertaining if you’re willing to lose yourself in outrageous scenarios.
Director Elizabeth Banks feels comfortable with this material. Anyone familiar with her acting roles is aware of her natural comedic timing and that talent shines in tone and pacing here. She’s directed a couple other films to mixed response, but it’s clear that COCAINE BEAR is her baby. The characters are all memorable and are treated as possible meals for the bear. But there is plenty of time that allows them to shine as actual actors who want to guarantee a good time. Martindale, in particular, has the funniest scenes with her potty mouth and taking her position as a ranger with so much pride.
The Blu-ray delivers in various aspects as the video presentation shows off rich color schemes throughout the forest as well as the fun gory special effects as the body count piles up. The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 lossless soundtrack roars across the speakers, especially during a memorable car chase sequence set to Depeche Mode that makes the ticket price well worth it. There are quite a few special features, but the commentary with Banks and producer Max Handelman is the most informative for those interested in details. The other features offer some behind-the-scenes footage, each running less than ten minutes. A funny alternate ending with Martindale and a gag reel round it out.
COCAINE BEAR won’t change the cinema landscape, but it knows where it stands. It’s clear when the pitch was made and the title was approved, everyone involved signed up for a good time and to make you laugh for 90 minutes. The COCAINE BEAR Blu-ray not only has a comedy that actually makes you laugh but includes an impressive audio presentation as well as some special features to take a bite out of.
COCAINE BEAR is now available to own on Digital, Blu-ray, and DVD.