Sexy, romantic comedy about a girl in her early 20s named Violet Sanford going to NYC to pursue a dream of becoming a songwriter. Violet gets a "day" job as a bar maid at a nightclub called Coyote Ugly. Coyote Ugly is the city's newest hot spot where the employees are a team of sexy, resourceful women that provoke the clientele and press with their mischief. Written by
Bartending movies are pretty rare things though judging by most bars seen in Hollywood, that's probably a good thing. Excessively noisy, always packed with people and there will be a fight breaking out at some point during the evening. You wouldn't see that in the UK. You'd get a couple of jocks hogging the pool table, bad music from the jukebox and maybe one or two "singers" who have had too much to drink - far more civilised that the bar seen in stuff like "Coyote Ugly", anyway. Despite its raucous nature, this is actually a fairly inoffensive and deeply predictable rags-to-riches story that is aimed squarely at the teenage girl market that I'm clearly not a part of. Oh dear.
Piper Perabo plays Violet, a shy wannabe songwriter growing up in New Jersey but with dreams of moving to New York in order to pursue her dreams. Against the wishes of her father (John Goodman), she moves out and finds herself struggling to make it. As her money dwindles, she takes a bar job at a frankly seedy establishment called Coyote Ugly and is woefully out of her depth. Staffed by sassy women who tease and tantalize their largely male customers, Violet fights the reluctance of the manager Lil (Mario Bello) and her stage fright in order to fit in. Can she overcome her nerves to secure her dreams and succeed in love with the impossibly cute Kevin (Adam Garcia)?
There is a lot not to like about "Coyote Ugly". The plot is insultingly basic and all too ready to turn on itself for the sake on convenience. Take the moment when Violet auctions off Kevin in order to raise some cash. Up to that point, the bar is full of shouting drunk guys but as soon as the auction starts, it suddenly fills with sex-starved women with money to burn - where did they come from? I personally felt that this was a female fantasy movie - a film where women are the shouty ballsy ones partying hard and living dangerously - and this may be why it didn't ring particularly true to me. The evolution of Violet's character doesn't seem organic at all, as she switches from shy to confident at a moment's notice. However, Perabo rightly leads to cast as she is good as Violet. Goodman also performs well as her father but Garcia does less well, being little more than eye-candy. But the real star is the soundtrack - like "Dirty Dancing", the film's score is filled with great songs from start to finish although the heavy repetition of the film's climatic song "Can't Fight The Moonlight" after the film's release means that the all-important feel-good factor at the end with replaced with a sense of resignation.
I suppose that as romantic fairy-tales go, this is a little unconventional but does the job well enough. In fact, that's symptomatic of the movie as a whole. Everything is enough but never excessive. The music is good but never stunning. The romantic element is OK but not as plausible as I'd like. The humour is gentle but never biting, the acting is decent enough but doesn't feel realistic and the bar-work (all the bottle spinning and juggling) looks the business but needs a whooshy sound-effect. So "Coyote Ugly" is good enough entertainment but nothing award-winning. Me? I'd rather have a quiet night in, thanks.
15 of 22 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?