“Cocaine Bear”: Bringing Back Stupidly Comical Movies in Hollywood

Brooklynn Prince, Staff Writer

Have you heard the phrase “bring back bad movies?” Though somewhat of a juxtaposition, there’s a special attraction to movies that are lacking in a few—or a lot—of elements compared to their successful, blockbuster counterparts. 

To be controversial, not every movie has to be good to be good. A movie with poor writing, poor editing, and even poor acting can still be worth the watch. 

That’s not because it’s award-winning, but because its chaos can make its viewers laugh. Of course, if you spend fifty dollars at Movie Tavern for a ticket and one bucket of popcorn to watch a romantic drama, and it’s so terrible that it feels more like a horror film, that’s a bit different.

However, the ratings of comedy films should be so much more easy-going than they actually are. Good luck trying to name at least five comedy movies that have been rated at least a 7/10 on Rotten Tomatoes.

Ironically, it seems that many movie critics don’t focus on the elements of comedy when assessing a comedy movie. A comedy can succeed in making the entire audience laugh in a movie theater, but if the acting is subpar, or the plot is unserious, it isn’t aiming high enough for the critic. So far, the newly released “Cocaine Bear” directed by Elizabeth Banks has gotten this same treatment.  

Banks has played excellent, laughter-bringing roles in well-known films such as “Pitch Perfect,” “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” and “The Hunger Games.” With her excellent comedic execution, there’s no doubt that she would succeed in a role behind the camera. 

Though Cocaine Bear is based on a true story, the plot is aimless in terms of what most movie critics want. In today’s Hollywood movie scene, directors and writers aim for sadness, nostalgia, inspiration, or some other dramatic emotion that they want their audience to feel by the end of the movie.

However, given by the eye-catching and ridiculous title, “Cocaine Bear” has a goal for none of those emotions. It’s simply a dark comedy movie aimed to make people laugh and stare in shock—and that is what makes it so great.

(Left to Right) Image still featuring starring actors Keri Russell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Margo Martindale.

Though the film takes a while to approach its climax—approximately twenty-three minutes into the movie—the action laced with gore and comedy make the wait worthwhile. 

Upon watching “Cocaine Bear,” I’ve realized that comedy is not the only attribute of the movie. With the movie’s death count at eight—with several characters introduced and then gruesomely murdered within the span of five minutes—violence and gore make up a lot of the film, which is expected of a movie about a drugged predatory animal. I mean, there is literally a scene where the bear bites a person’s leg off, and then snorts cocaine off of the limb. Reading that sentence may have scarred you for life, but imagine having to write it. 

Despite the movie’s lust for gore, comedy really soothes these intense scenes. After almost every jump scare or blood-filled moment, there is always a comedic blanket that’s thrown on top of it. There were many times where I was anticipating fear, and was then laughing a few seconds after.

While I clearly approve of the film, many critics have been ambivalent on the movie’s abilities. Critics on Rotten Tomatoes point out the movie’s “half-baked plot and uneven acting,” but make a pun that the plot will give “B-movie enthusiasts a contact-high.” While the review isn’t necessarily bad, it is funny that even a movie about a coked-out bear is subjected to intense review.

Viewer discretion is incredibly advised, but if you’re looking for a film to feel fear, laughter, and shock all at once, “Cocaine Bear” would be the perfect movie for you.