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A fun premise delivers some diverting, over-the-top scenes in Cocaine Bear before the picture has to find a coherent ending and utterly fails to come up with a decent one.

How much you'll enjoy Cocaine Bear probably hinges on your expectations going in. If you're in the mood for a film that is all premise and no execution, you won't mind the picture. If you expect a genuine guilty pleasure, you'll likely be disappointed.

Based on the true story of an eighties incident that saw a bear eat cocaine dropped in Georgian woods, the movie initially has fun with the outrageous premise, as director Elizabeth Banks fully indulges in the B-movie silliness, including award-winning actors hamming it up in over-the-top cartoon roles.

Scenes of young kids eating cocaine (curiously without any effect) and a pair of teenagers being beaten up by a drug smuggler further enhance the irreverent fun factor, while the rampages the titular bear goes on are goofily bloody.

Once past the halfway point Cocaine Bear can no longer hide that its on a road to nowhere though. With the finish line in sight, each subsequent scene becomes less interesting as the picture culminates in a dull, clumsily cobbled together denouement.

release: 2023

director: Elizabeth Banks

starring: Keri Russell, Alden Ehrenreich, O'Shea Jackson Jr., Margo Martindale


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