A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Other than "stay away from a cocaine-altered bear," the movie's main message is to use teamwork to persevere during difficult circumstances.
Positive Role Models
Sari is a brave single mother who's determined to rescue her child. Dee Dee and Henry, despite being young, are quick-witted enough to escape the bear. Grieving Eddie is vulnerable and more of a pacifist than his father or best friend.
Primary characters are White. In supporting cast are a Black cop (Isiah Whitlock Jr.), a Black "number two" to a drug dealer (O'Shea Jackson Jr.), an Asian EMT (South Korean actor Kahyun Kim), and a mixed-race deputy (Irish-English-Nigerian actor Ayoola Smart). Women have agency and power: One main character is a brave single mom who will stop at nothing to rescue her daughter. Another woman wields a gun.
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Violence & Scariness
Graphic violence is occasionally tempered by humor, but it's still relentless. The bear rips people apart; severed, bloody body parts are shown. It growls at and stalks children and adults and mauls, eviscerates, and kills many, many people. Expect close-ups of severe and fatal injuries, including a person who's shot in the head at close range by someone who's aiming at the bear. The bear decapitates and dismembers most victims, although others die in accidents caused by the bear's frightening presence. A person shot in the hand loses two fingers. A character beats three teens who are armed with a knife and ends up with a knife wound. The majority of characters die violent deaths. A character is grieving the death of his wife.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
An engaged couple kiss and talk about having babies. One character flirts with another who doesn't reciprocate her overtures. She makes a suggestive comment. He says "You've got a dusty beaver," meaning it literally, to which she replies, "I'm working on that."
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Extremely strong language in nearly every scene: nearly 100 uses of "f--k," plus "motherf----r," "s--t," "ass," "d--k," "damn," "piss," and "goddamn."
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Products & Purchases
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The movie hinges on a bear ingesting a huge quantity of cocaine. An early scene also shows a character snorting cocaine. Two 13-year-olds try cocaine by trying to swallow it. A couple of characters accidentally inhale it. Characters smoke cigarettes.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Cocaine Bear is director Elizabeth Banks' graphic action comedy based on a real 1985 event in which a 175-pound black bear ingested 75 pounds of cocaine that had been dumped from an airplane. It's very mature: Expect strong drug content, incessant swearing ("f--k," "s--t," "ass," "motherf----r," and much more), and relentlessly gory violence. The bear mauls and dismembers people, and there are explicit images of several severed limbs, as well as a decapitated head. People also die via gunshot (including a close-up of the blood splatter and gore) and from a car accident, but most of the many casualties are courtesy of the bear. There's also cigarette smoking, kissing, and a couple of suggestive comments. Spoiler alert: Although children are injured (and also try the cocaine they find), they both survive. The movie stars Keri Russell and O'Shea Jackson and features the final on-screen performance of the late Ray Liotta. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The idea of a coked-up black bear destroying everyone in its way to more drugs is initially novel, but the concept doesn't quite carry the entire movie. Some viewers will likely laugh a lot as the bear gets so aggressive that it starts attacking people -- sometimes because the unfortunate soul also found the cocaine and is covered in its debris. But after a while, Cocaine Bear becomes more of a slasher flick than a comedy, and the blood spray, brain splatter, torn limbs, fallen fingers, and accidental shootings start to mute the laughter. Plus, it's hard to invest in characters who exist solely to feed the same punchline (the bear loves cocaine! the bear will kill everyone in its way!) over and over again.
The most compelling subplot is between Daveed and Eddie, the latter of whom is a rare find in pop culture. The adult son of a drug kingpin, he not only wants out of the family business, but also wants to be left alone to grieve the death of his wife. And Martindale is likely to be a crowd favorite as gun-toting park ranger Liz, who had hoped the day would end with a romantic moment with the clueless parks service manager (played by an always-amusing Ferguson). Russell's formulaic "not without my daughter" story arc is bolstered by the goofy young Convery, who plays Dee Dee's best friend. And Sari's human "mama bear" character is a necessary foil to the actual bear, who's always on the hunt for more of the cocaine to eat. Banks and writer Jimmy Warden milk every inch of humor from the titular pitch, but the bear's manic drug-induced antics leave little for the human characters to do other than die in a bloody, if occasionally funny, manner. Ultimately this movie is an entertaining gag that grows a bit tiring by the 10th shot of viscera and gore.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.