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Coyote Ugly (2000).

January 8, 2010

The Scoop:

Naïve small town girl moves to the big city looking for fame, only to come face-to-face with the harsh realities of trying to make it in the big time. But thanks to a new love and some quirky friends she meets along the way, she finds her niche in an unexpected place and finally succeeds in living her dreams.

Yeah, we’ve all heard this tired tale — quite literally — a thousand times before, but for some reason Jerry Bruckheimer thought we needed to hear it again in “Coyote Ugly.”

Bruckheimer produced this twaddle from writer Gina Wendkos (“The Princess Diaries”) and director David McNally (“Kangaroo Jack”) about aspiring songwriter Violet (Piper Perabo) who moves to New York City to make it big in the music industry. After getting doors slammed in her face all over town, she has a too-cute meeting with Australian hunk Kevin (Adam Garcia) and finds work with gruff Coyote Ugly bar owner Lil (Maria Bello). The bar’s big attraction is the hot women (Bridget Moynahan, Izabella Miko, Tyra Banks) dancing it up on top of the bar and giving the male customers plenty of attitude. Of course, all this helps Violet get over her stage fright and live her dreams — which apparently just consists of selling one mediocre song to LeAnn Rimes.

There are only two reasons to watch this movie (unless you’re a bad movie aficionado, in which case you’ll find hundreds of reasons). The first is the jiggling women on the bar top (if you’re into that sort of thing). The bar sequences, for all their predictability, are actually staged pretty well and inject the only sort of life or energy the film has. As soon as the narrative steps outside the bar, the whole movie just deflates like a balloon on the morning after the party.

The second reason is the performance of John Goodman as Violet’s over-protective father. Like every other character, Bill is a one-dimensional caricature, but in Goodman’s hands he transcends the source material and becomes closer to a fully-realized person than the audience has any right to expect. Goodman polishes this turd like the solid professional he is.

But other than that, it’s a wash. You might enjoy some of it along the way, but you’ll hate yourself in the morning.

Best Bit:
Ellen Cleghorne’s cameo as the music company receptionist.

Side Note:
The real life Coyote Ugly bar was opened in New York in 1993 by Liliana Lovell, who was the basis of Bello’s character in the movie. After the success of the film, Lovell franchised the operation. At its height, the chain boasted 19 bars across the United States. Fifteen are still in operation today, but that includes three in Europe.

Companion Viewing:
“Flashdance” (1983).

Cinema de Merde.
Movie Mistakes (warning: this is a long one).
The chain’s official site.
The Urban Dictionary definition.

Take a Look:
The trailer:

Just the dancing scenes:

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