Reviews for Cocaine Bear are now in, with critics loving the movie’s self-awareness, humor, and bloody mayhem. Directed by Elizabeth Banks, Cocaine Bear tells the story of a large grizzly who ingests large amounts of cocaine before then going on a murderous rampage through a Georgia forest. The film, which is very loosely based on real events, stars Keri Russell, Alden Ehrenreich, Ray Liotta, O’Shea Jackson Jr., and Jesse Tyler Ferguson, among others.

Ahead of its official release tomorrow, February 24, reviews for Cocaine Bear are starting to roll in. At the time of writing, the movie holds a surprising 100% on Rotten Tomatoes (which will surely change as more reviews are added), with critics mostly agreeing that, while not necessarily groundbreaking, Cocaine Bear pretty much gives you exactly what you’d expect in a fun, hilarious, and violent package. Check out some review excerpts below:

Daniel Bayer, Awards Watch

Well, you certainly can’t accuse the makers of Cocaine Bear of making any false promises – the film is indeed about a bear that does cocaine, and that bear is unquestionably the star of the show. You get everything you would expect based on that premise: The bear snorting cocaine, the bear sneezing cocaine, the bear chasing after people it thinks has cocaine, the bear humping trees, the bear humping people, blood and guts from the bear attacking people who may or may not have more cocaine, the bear chasing after a brick of cocaine like it was a dog playing fetch, etc.

Which brings us to the problem with Cocaine Bear, namely that the joke of a bear doing cocaine is pretty much the only thing it has, and one joke isn’t enough to sustain a feature film, no matter how funny it is. Basically, you already know going in whether or not you’re going to like Cocaine Bear, and while it’s hard to imagine the film converting any non-believers, it’s not hard to imagine some hyped-up audience members being slightly disappointed.

Glenn Dunks, ScreenHub

Banks gets serviceable performances from her cast, although Keri Russell is absent for too-long stretches to really make anything out of what is ostensibly the lead role. Ray Liotta also appears in his final role made before his death in 2022. Weta Workshop do some impressive effects work, blending motion capture with natural environments (much of which was shot in Ireland) quite effectively. Mark Mothersbaugh’s score is also a high-octane treat.

Cocaine Bear doesn’t quite stick the landing, with a third act that gets increasingly hard to watch (because the cinematography by John Guleserian is too dark) and some bizarre editing choices snapped me out of its charms. Still, this is an entertaining piece of popcorn cinema that will be best watched in a crowded theatre.

Doug Jamieson, The Jam Report

When you’ve been watching movies as long as I have, you start to think you’ve seen it all. But then a film comes along featuring a 500 lb American black bear snorting cocaine off a dead man’s severed leg and you realise cinema still has the power to shock you in the best way possible. That’s just the tip of the outrageous iceberg in Elizabeth Banks‘ tremendously entertaining and sublimely ridiculous romp Cocaine Bear; a film that knows precisely what it is and gleefully serves up 95 minutes of pure unadulterated fun.

Casey Chong, Fiction Horizon

As a horror genre, Banks doesn’t shy away from gore and graphic violence. We get to see the likes of chewed-off limbs, a blown-off head, and lots and lots of blood. And let’s not forget the extended set-piece that begins with the paramedics arriving at the ranger station and later, a have-to-be-seen-to-be-believed chase sequence between a bear and an ambulance. It was easily the most exhilarating moment that combines campy fun and gory horror, where I wish Banks would press on more for this kind of amped-up set-piece.

Because it sure makes me feel like she’s missing the opportunity here to embrace the wild premise wholeheartedly. This is especially true with the less-than-satisfying third act as if the film is running out of cocaine, I mean, steam, and some of the broad storytelling approach earlier on that scattered around here and there.

Jim Schembri,

Boasting a perfect example of a movie title designed to sell tickets, Cocaine Bear is a fun, self-consciously cheesy B-grade action comedy about – you guessed it – a bear that goes on a killing spree in a national park after getting hooked on high-quality yeyo.

Anthony Morris, It’s Better In The Dark

Cocaine Bear is the kind of movie where the title is the joke, and whatever you’re imagining as the punchline to that joke is probably better than what director Elizabeth Banks and her team put on the screen. Which isn’t to say this is a dud: for one thing, it only goes 90 minutes. For another, it’s surprisingly gory. For a third… cocaine?

Peter Gray, The AU Review

Banks connects more than she misses with the big swing mindset that is this film, and everyone is having far too good a time for any of its missteps to truly weigh it down. Banks is a confident director in blending the comedic and horror spaces – some manners in which she builds tension throughout give me hope she’ll helm a straightforward horror film at some point though – and that pocket of playing to the ridiculousness and the more terrifying aspects of this story proves a comfortable space.

Richard Crouse, Richard Crouse

Before buying a ticket to “Cocaine Bear” ask yourself this question: Am I likely to enjoy a movie called “Cocaine Bear”? I can tell you authoritatively that it is the best stoned bear movie of the year. Admittedly, it is a small field, but if that turns your crank, by all means check it out.

Related: Cocaine Bear Is A Real Movie – And It’s Based On A True Story

What Cocaine Bear’s Reviews Tell Us About The Movie

cocaine bear movie Ray Liotta

Most of the reviews would suggest that what is shown of in the Cocaine Bear trailer is a pretty fair indication of what to expect from the film. One probably shouldn’t expect a deep and emotionally resonant story, but instead a tight, 90-minute action-comedy about a bear who gets high on cocaine and sets out to kill some unsuspecting victims in a hilarious, over-the-top way. While most critics seem to have enjoyed the movie overall, there do seem to be several common complaints.

One of the biggest issues, at least judging from this early batch of reviews, is that the third act is something of a weak point for Cocaine Bear. With its relatively straightforward premise, it would seem that the movie does slow down somewhat in its final third, with at least one critic mentioning that it’s difficult to see what’s happening due to how dark it is. Another common sentiment is that Cocaine Bear, for better or worse, pretty much has one central joke that runs throughout the story, which is made apparent by the title.

That being said, the CGI bear, created by Weta FX, is a notable highlight. Cocaine Bear is budgeted at $35 million, a modest sum considering how prominent a role an entirely CGI animal plays in the story. Early box office predictions put Cocaine Bear‘s opening weekend haul at around $15 million, with a higher number likely with strong word-of-mouth. These early reviews would suggest that the movie might just exceed box office expectations.

More: Why A Cocaine Bear Sequel Could Actually Work

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