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COYOTE UGLY
Unrated Edition

Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: Piper Perabo, Adam Garcia, Maria Bello, Melanie Lynskey, Bridget Moynahan, Izabella Miko, Tyra Banks, John Goodman
Director: David McNally
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1, French Dolby Surround
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.40:1
Studio: Disney/Touchstone
Features: See Review
Length: 107 Minutes
Release Date: June 7, 2005

“Why would you name your bar Coyote Ugly?”

“Cause Cheers was taken.”

Film **

WARNING: If this review makes me sound like a male chauvinist pig, please forgive me.

Every so often, there comes along a motion picture that really challenges your perception of it. In the case of Coyote Ugly, I am faced with a dual strategy as a film reviewer and as an all out admirer of a certain kind of eye candy. The eye candy in this case is that of gorgeous women dancing seductively in a bar in nearly every scene. C’mon guys, if you’re appreciative of women dancing in bars as I am, you’re gonna give a movie like this some credit.

As for something even resembling substance, the movie is a near-zero. What had me scratching my head even more is why mega-producer Jerry Bruckheimer, with a track list that includes such high powered entertainments like Enemy of the State, The Rock and Gone in 60 Seconds would even consider lending his name to a movie like this. And then it hit me, one of Bruckheimer’s first big productions was the utterly brilliant piece of cinema known as Flashdance. I’m assuming that he was tempted to make a similar movie for those who were unfortunate to miss the landmark 1983 masterpiece.

The story, such as it is, involves the trials and tribulations of young Violet Sanford (Piper Perabo), an aspiring songwriter. She has traveled from New Jersey to New York City to pursue her dream of getting her songs performed by a singing sensation. Upon arriving, she finds herself living in the least flattering apartment in the city, and need of a part time job.  

She then gets word of the bar called Coyote Ugly from overhearing a band of female bartenders that work there that they make around $300 on an average night. Of course tempted to apply for a position, she surprisingly lands a job “audition” from the tough-as-nails boss, Lil (Maria Bello), who gives her a new name, Jersey.

To give you an idea of what kind of bar Coyote Ugly really is, it’s pretty much the epitome of hell, where badass, drink serving girls rule the night. The star servers of the bar are bad girl Rachel (Bridget Moynahan) and Cammie (Izabella Miko), a flirtatious Russian whose nickname is, what else, The Russian Tease. Drinks are served to a nightly rowdy crowd, and there’s dancing galore. In other words, the kind of place a guy like me wants to be every night.

Despite Violet’s quick money making gig, she still has dreams of becoming a professional songwriter in mind. One night, she meets a short-order cook named Kevin (Adam Garcia), who sees her potential and does what he can to help her songs get noticed. Why is he so eager to help her, you ask? Well, like most guys would be, he’s attracted to her, and he also pretended to be a record producer upon first meeting her. Makes sense, don’t you think?

To sum it up, Coyote Ugly won’t stand out as one of Jerry Bruckheimer’s best, or even necessary, productions. The basic storyline of a young woman’s undying dream, mixed in with scenes of her battling a disapproving father (John Goodman) add up to a screenplay that wouldn’t have seemed fresh at the time Flashdance was a hit. I will say that Piper Perabo, who was a relative newcomer at the time of the movie’s release, lightens up the screen with a likeable presence and a subtle sexiness. She won me over as FBI agent Karen Sympathy in The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, and I still think that she has the goods to be a big star at the Julia Roberts-level.

What Coyote Ugly does have going for it is the magnificent eye candy of gorgeous women dancing seductively in a bar, and that’s great to look at, but it doesn’t always make a great movie.

BONUS: Director Michael Bay has a brief cameo as a photographer taking pictures in the bar.

Video ****

Though I never caught the original cut of the movie on DVD, I can honestly say that this re-issue, courtesy of Disney, is one glorious looking presentation. The anamorphic picture is consistently clear, crisp, and all around lively, with striking colors to go along. It’s a superb looking performance that makes the female dancing look even more fantastic.

Audio ***1/2

The 5.1 mix, offered in both Dolby Digital and DTS, gets the job done very well. Had it not been for the constant use of music in the movie, this would’ve been a simple dialogue driven movie. The scenes inside the bar are explosive, complete with both crowd noise and background noise to blend in with the action, resulting in superb surround sound. Dialogue delivery is extremely well handled, in addition.

Features ****

Disney’s new Unrated Extended Cut does deliver in terms of extras. First off, if you wondering if this cut merited no rating, I can for once say yes, as there is an extended and quite steamy love scene included which no way could’ve been included in the PG-13 cut. As far as extras go, this is a nice package, as we get a commentary from director David McNally, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and the “Coyotes” from the movie. Also included are three featurettes; “Coyotes 101: How to Be a Coyote”, “Inside the Songs”, and “Search For the Stars”. Lastly, there’s an Action Overload highlight reel, a music video for LeAnn Rimes’ song, “Can’t Fight the Moonlight”, a theatrical trailer and bonus previews.

Summary:

Coyote Ugly can be best described as better than Showgirls, yet still not good enough to be considered a quality level picture, at least story-wise. The eye candy involving dancing women is the highlight here, and you can never get enough moments of women dancing in bars.

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