Coyote Ugly David McNally
Published Aug 02, 2000"Coyote Ugly" isn't actually as bad as it looks. Advertised as a sort of PG-13 "Showgirls" meets "Cocktail," I expected two hours of glorifying scantily clad barmaid jobs. What I got instead was a very standard and formulaic romantic comedy/drama that had some surprisingly charming writing and performances. The cliched plot has small town naif Violet (Piper Perabo) going off to New York City to make her dreams of becoming a songwriter come true. Once there, she is faced with the harsh realities of big city life and, desperate for cash, ends up working at Coyote Ugly, a popular watering hole where the underdressed staff dance on the bar and hose down the clientele. She also meets a cute boy and struggles with the stage fright that is standing in the way of her being discovered.
The interesting thing is that the film doesn't seek to glorify nor to vilify the bar job, and even tries to show the feelings of both empowerment and degradation experienced in this type of work. There is still a lot of gratuitous shaking of T & A, but at least it is somewhat problemetised. Engaging performances from the dreamy male romantic lead Adam Garcia, the always dependable John Goodman in the role of Violet's father, and Melanie Lynskey as Violet's best friend elevate the film considerably, countering Piper Perabo's lacklustre Violet. There is also some genuinely clever dialogue that helps one to digest the hackneyed plot. "Coyote Ugly" is not a great movie by any stretch of the imagination, but it is still far more entertaining than I would have ever dreamt possible.