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COYOTE UGLY

Review by Andrew Manning (7/00)

Release: 2000, Buena Vista
Starring: Piper Perabo, Tyra Banks, Maria Bello, Bridget Moynahan, Izabelle Miko, Adam Garcia, John Goodman
Director: David McNally
MPAA Rating: [PG-13] sexuality, language
Genre: Drama/Felicity


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SUMMARY

When Violet (Perabo) leaves home to pursue a singing career in New York, she lands a job at Coyote Ugly, a hip bar notorious for the antics of its sexy female staff. Her life is soon swept up in the fast paced bar scene.

THE SUDDEN RUNDOWN

Coyote Ugly is the ultimate battleground of the two heads: the big one says, "this story stinks like an episode of Felicity," while the little one says, "yeah, but there's hot chicks EVERYWHERE!"

WHAT'S GOOD

For me, watching Coyote Ugly was like watching an episode of the short-lived Jennifer Love Hewitt show Time of Your Life. The story is 100% crap, but you can't look away because of the cute star. In the case of Coyote Ugly, though, the devious entrapments of lust are multiplied five fold, because instead of just one cute chick, you get one cute chick (Piper Perabo, recently seen as a spunky FBI agent in The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle), three other saucy girls at the bar, and luscious supermodel Tyra Banks bouncing around nonstop. Folks, this is why you hear guys laughing when the trailers for this movie run--because their brains are caught in a logic loop debating, "stupid story...ugh, beautiful young women!"

Coyote Ugly is centrally the story of young Violet Sanford (Piper Perabo). She has dreams of moving to the big city and becoming a singer/songwriter. But once she arrives in New York, harsh reality descends upon her. She realizes that she has to deal with things like housing and a job. Of course, she's young, pretty, and spunky, so homelessness isn't even an alternative. Immediately, she finds an apartment (albeit shoddy and "beneath her station") and a job at a local bar curiously named Coyote Ugly. This is where the fun really starts...

It turns out that Coyote Ugly is operated by a small army of hot chicks. They get men drunk, prance and bounce around for them, and participate in crazy antics, such as setting the bar on fire. As such, the bar is ground zero for fratboy party fantasies, a co-ed paradise where the booze and c**ze run freely. Let me emphasize the shallowness with which you should go into this flick: you should only expect to be teased to death with young flesh. You shouldn't look for a story, engaging dialogue, or even intellectually interesting characters. The only things you should expect are springing cleavage, tight asses in hot pants, and the endless writhing of borderline jailbait.

Producer Jerry Bruckheimer, the master of action films (Con Air, The Rock, Crimson Tide, Top Gun, and more) lends his touch to this film, although it is less noticeable in such an estrogen-pumped environment. Coyote Ugly actually does boast some cool action shots, fast paced choreography, mild brawling, and pyrotechnics--so Bruckheimer's strengths aren't completely wasted. Still, the focus is always the girls, and their presence easily overshadows any signatures of the producer.

Piper Perabo is once again cute and girl-next-doorish, and I enjoyed how her blonde bombshell boss arbitrarily decides to rename her. Apparently, "Violet" isn't a hip enough name to work at Coyote Ugly, so the boss starts to call her "Jersey." Hey, whatever floats the boat. I think it's funny, but for the sake of actress Piper Perabo, she had better follow up this flick with a 180 reversal into a good movie, otherwise audiences might know her as "Jersey" in the same way Sarah Michelle Gellar is interchangeably tagged as "Buffy."

The rest of the main cast is gorgeous, of course, but Tyra Banks stands out as the one who flaunts it most heavily, even in her small role. Her perfect figure is squeezed into tight outfits that amplify the sheer power of her chest.

To round out this superficial tour de force, let's examine the Coyote Ugly poster, which features the five female sirens piling on top of each other in an assemblage of silky soft limbs. There are two prominent versions of this poster out there: one has the tough brunette (I think her name is Bridget Moynahan) placing her hand on the bar, while the other version has her hand stealthily copping a feel on Piper Perabo's rump. Personally, I like the latter incarnation, and I envy that hand.

Okay, if you haven't gotten the point by now, I'll drive it home one last time: the bottom line is that Coyote Ugly has one thing--and one thing only--going for it: sex appeal. Anyone looking for anything else will be sorely disappointed.


WHAT'S BAD

Ironically, the "what's good" section of this review is longer than the "what's bad" section, even though the negative elements easily outnumber the positive ones. That's because the bad elements can be summarized quickly: just about everything besides the girls.

Coyote Ugly's story is absolutely unengaging, and is as thoughtless as a daytime soap opera. It is as melodramatic and cheesy as an episode of Felicity, and the situations are as contrived as the ill-fated Time of Your Life. Yes, there's lots of eye candy to go around, but you have to endure suave, non-descript dorks hitting on them, which includes the viciously awful dialogue.

I'd advise everyone to not waste their time with this flick in the theaters. At best, it's a rental, and only then to gawk at the flesh. If it weren't for the hot chicks parading around in this girl power epic, I'd have rated it about a 3. The dopey plot and the interaction of the characters just get downright annoying in short order, making Coyote Ugly a movie best watched without the sound.


Rating: 5 out of 10 (0=Abysmal, 5=Average, 10=Excellent)
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