Hokie Coyote
Coyote Ugly
Review by Ross Anthony

A struggling singer-songwriter moving to New York in search of fame finds a cute Aussie boyfriend and a bar to dance on.

Here's a comment from a theatergoer:
"It was all right. It had a lot of good-looking people. It could have made it."

Here's a comment from me.
"I made it (through, that is)." Admittedly, this was not a film that I eagerly awaited screening. Skinny ladies in tube tops two sizes too tiny spraying an inebriatedly rambunctious bar crowd with various spirits just didn't catch my eye on the trailers (go figure). But if it caught yours, be forewarned these are relatively minor segments of the film (likewise, Tyra Banks' part).

Nor is this a film about four women. Rather, one modest, stage-frightened, but determined girl from Coyote UglyJersey dominates the production. Can she make it on her own in the big bad city? Can she keep her young Mel Gibson? Can she impress her KFC eating father (John Goodman)?

Aside from pretentiously false modesty, Piper Perabo does a smashing job with this near-cardboard character. Adam Garcia also is endearing, with the Coyote Queen, Maria Bello, pulling down her hard, but caring role with both fists. Tyra is fine. (Read in any inflection you prefer).

But the film caricatures the reality of song or beer selling, the father/daughter relationship and even performance, be it music or buttocks. Some of the wet bar dancing is fun (never too sexy), but the film really only captivates when Violet (Perabo) plays her music. Unfortunately, that only happens twice during which the filmmakers insert a time-passes-by sequence over the music that moves the picture along with the kind of beat and heart we've been waiting for. More songs from our leading lady would have prettied up this coyote. A grittier realism would have also elevated the tension level - as is, we never really worry about anyone.

FYI, as explained by the bar owner herself, "Coyote Ugly" is the term one might use for the less than appealing appearance of your one-night-stand laying in bed with you the morning after. "You'd rather chew off your arm than risk waking him."

Still, I enjoyed Piper Perabo and would like to see more of her (now, stop, you know what I mean!) in films to come. Additionally, I did pull out my dusty six string and bang around on it a while when I got back from the film ... that's worth more than a "C."

  • Coyote Ugly. Copyright © 2000.
  • Starring Piper Perabo, Adam Garcia, Maria Bello, John Goodman, Tyra Banks, Melanie Lynskey, Izabella Miko, Bridget Moynahan, Michael Weston, LeAnn Rimes.
  • Directed by David McNally.
  • Written by Gina Wendkos.
  • Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, Chad Oman at Touchstone (C)2000. Rated PG-13.


Copyright © 2000. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit: RossAnthony.com

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:17:04 PDT