banner image

:: Coyote Ugly

Much hype and glamour surrounded the lead-up to this film. After all, being targeted at the youth market, it contains good-looking, bare-midriffed girls dancing wildly on a bar counter and kicking whatever butt is in their way. That’s the nature of the establishment that is Coyote Ugly, an unusually named funky bar in New York. The cross-appeal will be apparent as both sexes will find a reason to enjoy the unashamedly cliched showbiz story of a wannabe-songwriter who looks for a big break in the big apple.

This Jerry Bruckheimer production is no mere Cocktail type film. Notwithstanding the devious entrapment of multiplied lust, in the face of one supermodel, three saucy bar girls, and a cute singer, the film pulls the right moves. “Jersey” girl Violet Sanford (Piper Perabo) has dreams of moving to the big city and being recognised for her songwriting skills. She left against the wishes of her father (John Goodman) but wanted to forge this career and fulfil her ambitions. Harsh realities soon descend upon her. She needs a job to sustain the New York lifestyle and finding a place to live isn’t too hard for a young, pretty woman. However, her apartment is robbed and money is in short supply. It is then that she meets a confident young guy named Kevin (Adam Garcia) who takes of her predicament and sets about lifting her character. 

She tries out for a job as a coyote at the Coyote Ugly, owned by Lil (Maria Bello). Lil tests her out and seems very hard, but she has a heart of gold and gives Violet an opportunity, although the work amounts to being somewhat of an exhibitionist at the bar, with skimpy gear and determined attitude to deal with the howling dudes clamouring for drinks. The fun starts with Violet joining the other bar girls, Rachel (Bridget Moynahan), Cammie (Izabella Miko) and Zoe (Tyra Banks) in participating in some crazy antics and teasing the male customers into drunkenness. Will Violet become embroiled in this grab for cash and will a record producer ever discover her? You would hope that Violet makes it because she is kind-hearted, spunky and alluring. 

It’s a film of youthful energy, designed to stir the desires of teen/twenties audiences. Piper Perabo, as Violet, is actually the lead character, although the pre-release hype tended to be based on these five young women on equal footing. The coyotes, as they’re known in the bar, are total pop packages – trashy and hip, with the right moves and sex appeal to add gusto. Piper is cute and girl-next-doorish, and looks well suited to a more dramatic role. She displays enormous charisma and potential. The “guys” of the film, handsome Australian Adam Garcia, and the towering presence of John Goodman, give very good performances. Many of Goodman’s lines, as the over-protective father, sparkle amongst several moments of mundane dialogue. Garcia shows enough to warrant future attention. Those wanting to see much of Tyra Banks will be disappointed, as her screen time is skimpier than her outfits. She probably should have received more screen time. Watch for cameo appearances by country singing star LeAnn Rimes and Californian band Unwritten Law. 

David McNally’s direction sits just right for the tone of the film, highlighting the “ogre” of New York in splashy light. It is well accompanied by an exuberant soundtrack and great fashions. It therefore makes “Coyote Ugly” a slick, spirited movie that will titillate many and be enjoyed during the summer.