Coyote Pays the Piper
One way to describe "Coyote Ugly" is to call it a chick flick about empowering women, but one which is made by red blooded men which means we have a lot of in your face raunchiness and often scantily dressed women. In a way it's confusing with this mixed image yet it is also surprisingly entertaining with many memorable scenes featuring young ladies dancing on bars and a roaring soundtrack which is prominent throughout. All of which is a good thing because there is certainly very little subtlety to "Coyote Ugly" and is at times bordering on the cheesiness of "Showgirls".
Having decided to head to the city in search of fame, aspiring song writer Violet Sandford (Piper Perabo - The Prestige) discovers making it as a singer-songwriter is not that easy, especially when you suffer from stage fright. Forced to find work to pay her way Violet comes across Coyote Ugly a popular night spot where the cocktails are not the only thing shaken, as the sexy bar staff shake their booty on the bar each night to the wild applause of the bars patrons.
To say that the storyline to "Coyote Ugly" is slim is an understatement because it's basically about a young, nervous singer trying to make it in New York, following in the footsteps of her mother. It is of course padded out and we get the obligatory romantic storyline which is as slim as the main storyline, relationship issues between father and daughter as well as of course the need to work leading Violet to work as a Coyote in the bar Coyote Ugly. As such it's a predictable movie with little which will make you stop to think and is so in your face that the storyline becomes less important as all the drinking and dancing at Coyote Ugly takes centre stage.
It's this heavy handedness and in you face nature makes it feel like a movie made for women by red blooded men, why else would you have a storyline about a woman reaching for her dreams yet filled with semi clad women dancing on bars in a raunchy and outrageous nature. But in a strange way it doesn't matter because all the in your face, obvious scenes are pure entertainment especially those featuring the women dancing on the bar to such songs as "Devil Went Down to Georgia", "Cowboy" and "One Way or Another".
It certainly doesn't strive for realism either when it's going for entertainment with that fantasy side which makes you wish that you could find a bar just like Coyote Ugly where the liquor runs free and the entertainment includes setting fire to the bar whilst dancing on it. In a way all the bar scenes have a feel of "Cocktail" about them but the dials turned up to 11 when it comes to the over the top theatrics.
All these entertaining scenes doesn't hide the fact that there is some less than amazing acting going on. Piper Perabo who plays Violet Sanford looks lovely and has a smile to rival Julia Roberts but fails to breathe any life in to her character making it wetter than a wet weekend. Yes she is meant to be this timid New Jersey girl trying to make it in the big city but it lacks any oomph. Alongside Piper Perabo is Adam Garcia who plays mysterious love interest and all round good guy Kevin but whilst obviously handsome his only really memorable contribution is a dance scene which allows him to strut his funky stuff on the bar as women go wild bidding for him.
There are though some nice performances and although John Goodman gets very few scenes as Violet's father Bill he is always a joy to watch. Maria Bello, Izabella Miko, Bridget Moynahan and also Tyra Banks all put in nice performances as various Coyote's who work at the bar and even LeAnn Rimes gets a small cameo. Aside from the main characters there are some other recognizable faces that turn up with Johnny Knoxville appearing as a customer and Transformers director Michael Bay as a photographer. And as for those background actors elsewhere, well lets just say that the over acting by some reach record proportions.
What really holds all of this together is a pretty good soundtrack which is influential in almost every scene. From the early karaoke rendition "I Will Survive" through to such delights as "Rebel Yell", "The Right Kind of Wrong", "Can't Fight the Moonlight" as well as the already mentioned "Devil Went Down to Georgia", "Cowboy" and "One Way or Another". Coupled with various in your face bar top dance scenes and it creates an almost intoxicating fantasy feeling which is entertaining in a very obvious way.
What this all boils down to is that "Coyote Ugly" is on one hand almost a chick flick with a flavour of inspiration yet it is so in your face raunchy and fantasy like that it has a sexiness which will appeal to men. It doesn't really matter that the storyline is both predictable and slim or that the acting borders on the hammy because all the dance scenes in the bar combined with a great soundtrack makes it entertaining in a fantasy way.