Cocktail is sooooo gay. It's the gayest Tom Cruise movie ever. And when you consider the fact that Tom Cruise also made Top Gun, a movie in which he played slo-mo, oiled up volleyball, and sang You've Lost that Loving Feeling, and yet this movie is somehow gayer, then you get a good idea of how gay it is. Ostensibly, Cocktail is about love, friendship, triumph over adversity, and embracing adult responsibilities, but what it really is, is just a gayer-than-the-day-is-long gay fest.
It's important to define what is meant here by "gay." Cocktail isn't gay in a "homosexual," Brokeback Mountain sort of way. It's gay as in, "Man alive is this movie ever GAY!" First of all it suffers from what can only be described as "flip-fatigue." Cruise's character, upstart flair-tender Brian Flanagan, can't make a gin and tonic in this movie without flipping a bottle. For some reason the director really, really loved the whole bottle-flipping thing, and really, really makes sure you understand that the Cruise character can and will flip a bottle if given the chance. Cruise also, at times accompanied with a bottle flip, at times not, yells "WHOO!" a lot, which is inherently gay. The flip action sometimes culminates in a synchronized bottle-twirling exhibition between Cruise's Flanagan and his partner, Doug Coughlin. At other times, they stop, face each other and shake the liquor bottles down by their batches while a song like "Hippie Hippie Shake" rocks the house: Verrrry gay. The crowd, of course, loves it. In reality, the crowd would hate it, because all they want is their goddamned drinks.
Bryan Brown plays Doug Coughlin, with full Australian bravado. He's a sort of libertine qua dime store philosopher who's prone to saying things like "Coughlin's Law: Never show surprise, never lose your cool." And "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." It's s'posed to make him look cool. It comes off, like everything else in this movie, as kinda gay. Like Patrick Swayze's sage and grizzled friend in the wonderfully bad Roadhouse, Coughlin is a confidant, friend, and mentor to the young protagonist. Oh, and spoiler alert: The old timers die in both movies. When Coughlin dies, the audience knows it's sad, because a plaintive whammy bar on the soundtrack signals it to this fact. (The sad whammy bar is almost as gay as the Reggae music used earlier in the movie to signify "fun.") Then, some other stuff happens. Cruise knocks up Jordan Mooney, played with characteristic vapidity by Elisabeth Shue; his friend kills himself. None of that changes the fact that what this movie is all about is being as gay as gay can be. Cocktail = Gay. Thank you.
Standout scene: The gayest, and most cringe-inducing scene, is an impromptu poem Cruise recites for a crowd of hundreds at a cell block themed firetrap of a bar. Inexplicably, the soused patrons actually get church mouse quiet so they can hear him. Again, this would never happen. Has anyone ever been to a bar where they could even conceive of this happening? It's just one more example of how the makers of this movie obviously had no sense of how things actually work. Anyway, here's the poem, reprinted in its full gay-as-hell splendor (I've guessed at the line breaks and stanzas):
Last Barman Poet
I am the last barman poet.
I see America drinking the fabulous cocktails I make.
Americans getting stinky on something I stir or shake.
The sex on the beach, the schnapps made from peach,
The Velvet Hammer,
the Al-La-Bam-A Slam-a!
I make things with juice and froth: the Pink Squirrel, the 3-Toed Sloth. I make drinks so sweet and snazzy:
The Iced Tea, The Kamikaze, The Orgasm, The Death Spasm,
The Singapore Sling, The Dingaling.
America you've just been devoted to every flavor I got.
But if you want to got loaded,
why don't you just order a shot?
Bar is open.