I had to succumb to an irresistible treat from the evil Jerry Bruckheimer, whose productions I’m still blindly attracted to even though when you think of it, he hardly ever made a great film. But still, I’ll be damned if he doesn’t put out the most “Whoa! I gotta see that!” trailers there is! Pop rock anthems, flashy visuals, MTV editing, a little laugh, a little bang… and usually, badass brawny dudes, but here Jerry one-ups his formula by going for some hot babes. How could I resist?
Verdict? I was stupid, of course. “Coyote Ugly” is incredibly cheesy, shallow, predictable, offensive to women and only mildly entertaining.
Meet Violet (Piper Perabo), a cute girl next door who leaves her dead-end job in a New Jersey pizza place to move to New York and pursue her dreams of becoming a songwriter. Problem is, record companies won’t even give her tapes a listen and she can’t even try to get a break by performing in bars and cafés with her guitar à la Jewel because she has a bad case of stage fright, somehow related to her dead mom’s own failed music career. So while she strives, playing her Casio on the rooftop of her sleazy Chinatown pad, she gets herself a job as a waitress in a bar. But Coyote Ugly ain’t just any bar. The half-naked hotties who work there spin bottles, yell, dance on the bar, spit fire, spray the crowd with water… And men and women alike beg for more rowdy action! So shy little Violet turns into wet T-shirt clad, hard booze pouring, sing-along with the juke box Jersey…
That part of the movie is little more than “Striptease” with clothes, but it’s enjoyable enough. The coyotes are very fun to watch shaking their booties, especially model Tyra Banks and sassy Polish blonde newcomer Izabella Mikos. I also dig the party atmosphere and the use of 80s tunes form Def Leppard, Blondie and INXS. Yet the film makes one crucial mistake which is to actually focus on life outside the bar, which means we have to suffer through Violet’s dull attempts to realize her dreams and an obligatory embarrassingly corny romance she has with Mr. O’Donnell (Adam Garcia), an oh so cute Australian mate with a jones for comic books. Piper Perabo, who I previously enjoyed in “The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle”, is a fresh faced bright young cutie, but even she can’t save the film from sinking into stereotypes and contrivances. Neither can John Goodman, even though his funny, heartfelt turn as Perabo’s dad is much more compelling than anything else in the movie.
Do I really have to bother with writing about behind the cameras shenanigans? Basically, it’s clear that it doesn’t matter if it’s Tony Scott, Michael Bay or in this case, Montreal commercial director David McNally who gets the credit, in the end it’s Jerry Bruckheimer who’s calling the shots. And here, it doesn’t work. I still can’t understand how a movie about beautiful women could turn out to be boring. I guess the producer’s formula works better when stuff blows up, cars get smashed and bad guys are colorfully slaughtered. “Coyote Ugly” had one of the coolest damn trailers you could wish for, but the movie isn’t all that. Be smarter than I was, stop gazing at the breasteses on the poster and go see something else.