By Mark Fields

Elizabeth Banks’ new horror comedy film, Cocaine Bear, can’t seem to decide which of its genres should take the lead, the horror or the comedy. As a result, it swings wildly (and uncomfortably) in tone between sickly funny and then a moment later casually gory. Those tonal shifts make it hard for the viewer to fully engage in a story that has the potential to be more entertaining. Very loosely based on a real incident about a load of Columbian cocaine that was dumped from a plane into a national forest in Georgia, the movie then ponders what might happen if a bear consumed some (ok, a lot) of that cocaine and then went on a rampage. An accomplished cast includes Keri Russell, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and the late Ray Liotta (in his final film performance) gamely get into the warped spirit of this film, but the outcome is neither scary enough nor funny enough to enthusiastically recommend.

Mark Fields
Mark Fields has reviewed movies for Out & About since October 2008. In addition, he has written O&A profiles of documentarian Harry Shearer and actress Aubrey Plaza. Over the years, Mark also has written on film for several publications in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and his home state of Indiana, where he also served as on-air movie critic for Indianapolis’s public radio station. Mark was an adjunct instructor of film history at Rowan University from 1998 to 2018. A career arts administrator, he retired in fall 2021 after 16 years as an executive at Wilmington’s Grand Opera House. Mark now leads bike tours part-time and is working on a screenplay. He lives in Trolley Square with his partner Wendy. Mark spent the fastest 22 minutes of his life as an unsuccessful contestant on Jeopardy…sadly, there were no movie questions.