Coyote Ugly (2000), Cert 12A.

Director - David McNally.

Writer - Gina Wendkos.

Starring - Piper Perabo, Adam Garcia, John Goodman & Maria Bello.


Premise - Aspiring New Jersey songwriter Violet (Piper Perabo) moves to New York against her fathers wishes (John Goodman) to try and make it in the music industry. She finds out that it isn't going to be as easy as she thought and takes a job at the raucous 'Coyote Ugly' bar owned by Lil (Maria Belo) to make money until she gets her big break.

Being a product of the Jerry Bruckheimer hit factory you pretty much know what to expect with Coyote Ugly. It's slick, loud, has a hot young cast and is pretty much like a 90 minute music video. The only difference between this film and his other output is that instead of explosions and buckets of special effects you get half naked girls and singing.

Now under normal circumstances I would be inclined to rip apart a film that has such a blatantly formulaic structure, but the girls are so damn cute........ I admit it, I've been played. I fell right into Mr. Bruckheimer’s web and looked past the dodgy acting, script, morals and instead gazed as another leather clad vixen cavorted around the screen.

That's pretty much all Coyote Ugly has going for it. It's a blatant case of style over substance if ever there was one. If you look 'style over substance' up in the dictionary I would wager there is a cover shot of the video next to it. Underneath the glossy, sexy exterior you have what is a (very) basic love story. Girl meets boy, girl and boy don't get on, girl and boy fall for each other, girl and boy fall out, girl and boy make up, end movie. It's been done before and there is no doubt in my mind that it will be done again, and again, and again...............

But, wait. Take two formulaic movies into the shower? Don't bother, take Coyote Ugly in with you and save time. Indeed, not only do you get a nice old style love story for your money you also get a tale of the small town girl does good. Yep, they are really cramming in the clichés in this one folks. Girl moves to city, girl can't get a break, girl takes a crummy job, girl gives up and is about to move back to small town, girl gets discovered by accident, cue happy ending. In-fact it's not enough that the story is clichéd beyond belief, but the way in which the story moves forward is crazy. Violet's story consists of coincidence after wacky coincidence. Only in movie land would such events transpire, please suspend your belief at the door.

The quality of acting can best be described as functional with the actors clearly having been picked for their looks and/or dancing abilities ahead of any real acting skills. Piper Perabo is cute, Adam Garcia (The last person I expected to see in a film BTW. I last saw him in the stage production of 'Saturday Night Fever'!) smolders and Maria Bello is tough. Cardboard cut out characters one and all. John Goodman is the best on offer, dishing out the only laughs from the weak script.

So if you take all this into account you have what is a pretty bad film. But, like I said I was played, I enjoyed the film in spite of myself. For all the above reasons I should have hated this film beyond reproach, but the glossy look and the swirling half naked girls sold me. I was hooked and nearly cheered at the inevitable happy ending.

Coyote Ugly is as clichéd and formulaic as films get, but the slick visuals and sexy women ensure a male audience whilst the basic love story and catchy songs ensure that the film is perfect for a bunch of girls just about to hit the town.



Poster Quote - Ugly? Who you kiddin?