Coyote Ugly

There is very little of anything original in Coyote Ugly. Except for some woman dancing on top of a bar, this movie follows the familiar plot of a young woman from a small town trying to make it in the big city. Inspired by a 1993 article in GQ, Coyote Ugly is formulaic almost to the point of being bland. Violet Sanford (Piper Perabo, The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, White Boys) moves from New Jersey to New York in order to begin a career in songwriting. It goes nowhere. She is bright-eyed and naive, and thinks that her innocence can get her a job. Of course, she is wrong. So to hold her over, she gets a job at a bar called Coyote Ugly. The name refers to when someone wakes up from a drunken one-night stand, and finds that the person they slept with is ugly. Ugly enough that one would gnaw his/her arm off to escape.

All the bartenders at Coyote Ugly are Coyotes. Lil (Maria Bello, Payback, Permanent Midnight) owns the bar. The other waitresses there are the horny Cammie (Izabella Miko, Forsaken), violent Rachel (Bridget Moynahan, Whipped, In the Weeds) and prospective law student Zoe (Tyra Banks, Higher Learning, Love and Basketball). Saying that Banks is in the movie has a role in the movie is not accurate since her character promptly disappears. Violet is far out of her element at Coyote Ugly. The bar is out of control. People pack the floor, watching the Coyotes jump on the bar, dance, light fires, push men, and do other various crazy things. These scenes are full of energy, but all of it drains away as soon as the setting changes.

Violet also has stage fright. She discovers the only way to have people notice her songs is to perform them herself (LeAnn Rimes provides Violet's singing voice). Helping her to overcome this is Kevin (Adam Garcia, Bootmen), the necessary cute guy who is initially a jerk then turns out to be a nice guy. Needless to say, Violet and Kevin soon get together. Their romance feels forced and unnatural, and Perabo and Garcia have little chemistry together. Coyote Ugly is the first film script by Gina Wendkos and first directorial outing David McNally and it shows. There is never a doubt as to what will happen at any given point in the movie. Jerry Bruckheimer is the executive producer, and he is most likely trying to recreate the success of Flashdance, one of his earlier films. As for the actors, Perabo is expressive and appealing just as she was in Rocky and Bullwinkle, but this is not enough. John Goodman (The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, What Planet Are You From?) also has a role, but it is more a plot device than a role. It is ironic that the title Coyote Ugly can also represent the audience's feelings after the movie is over.

Haro Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 34 minutes, Rated PG-13 for sensuality.

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