Cocktail Blu-ray Review

When looking back on Tom Cruise’s early films, many people will point to RISKY BUSINESS, TOP GUN or even THE COLOR OF MONEY as indications that Cruise was going to become one of the biggest international superstars of all time.  For me, however, COCKTAIL is proof of his superstardom, not because the movie is good, but rather because the movie is actually pretty horrible.  But Tom Cruise makes this bad movie actually enjoyable, proving that no matter what he does, it’s going to be fun to watch.


COCKTAIL is a series of conflicting emotions for the audience.  It’s impossible not to like Brian Flanagan (Tom Cruise) because he’s young, handsome and incredibly charming.  Early on, we root for him to find the success he’s dreaming of because it seems he deserves it.  When he gets a job bartending at the local TGI Fridays, an older bartender named Doug Coughlin (Bryan Brown) takes him under his wing and together they put on a show involving flipping bottles and singing songs to please their customers.  Their act gets them attention and they end up taking their talents to a popular nightclub.  So far, so good, but things go awry in the film when Brian falls for Coral (Gina Gershon) and Doug decides to teach Brian a lesson by sleeping with Coral in order to prove she’s not the dream girl Brian thinks she is.


Unfortunately, this act negates all the camaraderie and good will Brian and Doug established early on.  This is important because later on in the film, we’re expected to feel various emotions as they attempt to reconcile.  We also start to dislike Brian after he falls in love with Jordan (Elisabeth Shue) and then cheats on her to prove his skills to Doug.  Again, this makes us dislike both characters, which brings down the whole tone of the film.


But it still comes back to Tom Cruise as he manages to add charm to an otherwise unlikeable character.  We root for him to get back together with Jordan, even though if Jordan was our sister, we would never approve.  It also helps that Tom Cruise and Elisabeth Shue have a surprising amount of chemistry together and even though they spend most of the film fighting, the moments they were in love do well to make the audience pull for them to get back together.


The simple story of a young man trying to make a fortune in the big city has been told many times before and often told better than in COCKTAIL.  But it’s a bit of a guilty pleasure to watch Tom Cruise flip bottles of vodka through the air and lay on his charm, so COCKTAIL becomes a watchable, if not forgettable film.  The great soundtrack and nice locales help out as well, but if you’re going to be indulging in COCKTAIL, be ready for an overdose of Tom Cruise.



Video:  COCKTAIL was released theatrically in 1988 and as with recent Touchstone/Buena Vista releases, the transfer has a few problems.  Overall though, this Blu-ray is a nice upgrade over the DVD version.

Audio: The audio was also very well done.


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