Shaken not stirred
Cocktail
1988 | 103mins | dir: Roger Donaldson | starring: Tom Cruise, Bryan Brown, Elisabeth Shue | 8.00pm, Five, Sunday 27 June

reviewed by uploaded: 20-06-2004

Nostalgia for the eighties can go a step too far – so be warned, all those considering watching Cocktail this weekend...

Sunday is rest day at Wimbledon, and over on ITV it’s the Euro 2004 Quarter Finals between the Czech Republic and Sweden, Italy, or Denmark. So I think we can presume that this film is supposed to be aimed fairly and squarely at the ladies…

In 1988, Tom Cruise was still in Bratpack Golden Boy stage, and Scientology and seriousness had not yet beckoned. Eighties brashness was just about to implode, but not before Mr Cruise had the chance to celebrate that decade with his cheesiest, flashiest film role ever.

Cocktail is all about living (and blowing) the American Dream. Cruise plays Brian Flanagan (for the Oirish-American contingent), a cocky young stud out to light up the bars of this world with his superior shaking skills, smooth-talking and cheeky grin. Bryan Brown is his mentor, Doug Coughlin, the kind of man who talks in platitudes that he thinks are so original he calls them ‘Coughlin’s Laws’.

And when he’s not indoctrinating Brian with his laws on life, he’s coming out with all sorts of sexist claptrap (see below). But that’s basically the problem with this film. It was billed as a teen queen’s wet dream, starring Cruise the hot stud we all allegedly wanted to bed, but that sits rather awkwardly with Brian and Doug’s lads' fantasy lifestyle.

However, it would be hard not to get a bit carried away in the first half of Cocktail, such is Cruise’s eager exuberance as he learns the ropes of his new trade. Things start to go downhill when Cruise’s love interest, Elisabeth Shue, turns up – she’s hardly a sassy role model, and their romance is little more than a cliché. And although the whole thing is supposed to turn into a morality tale about the evils of materialims, unfortunately Cruise's character is at his most attractive when he's just out to make loads of money and bed beautiful ladies.

So be warned. You might think it’s worth a look, for old time’s sake. But honestly, you’re better off with the quarter finals on the other side. At least the men are taller…

Best quote:
“I don’t care how liberated this world becomes – a man will always be judged by the amount of alcohol he can consume – and a woman will be impressed, whether she likes it or not.” Doug Coughlin

rating:
5/10 Eighties trash that can’t even be redeemed by Mr Cruise

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