Coyote Ugly, which tells the story of a struggling songwriter who moves to New York, was directed by David McNally. He makes his feature film debut here, having graduated from commercials where a director is forced to tell a story in thirty or sixty seconds. Boy is his pedigree stamped on this mutt. For example take the scene where Violets neighbor pounds on the door because shes making too much noise. We then get a tight close-up as we see her singing, but as we slowly pull back we see shes actually on the roof. Uhhh, yeah. Written by Gina Wendkos, I was surprised to learn there was actually a writer.
But forget the director and writer, theyre just pawns. After all this is a Jerry Bruckheimer production, the producer responsible for films like Days of Thunder, Beverly Hills Cop, and of course Flash Dance. With this guy its all about the Benjamins, big fat stacks of em. As the saying goes, if I had his money Id burn mine. But wow do his movies stink.
If youve seen the trailer then you know the real reason anyone is showing up at the theatre is for the whiskey slinging, bar dancing babes. The innocent looking Piper Perabo stars as would be songwriter Violet Sanford. John Goodman plays her cliché dad character. Uhh, hem, filling out the barmaid cast are Bridget Moynahan and Tyra Banks who, in possibly the least plausible plot point, is leaving the bar for law school. Then theres Maria Bello from E.R. as the streetwise proprietor of the Coyote Ugly bar.
Unfortunately this movie pulls a major bait and switch. Running ads featuring the bodacious bar maids suckers you in but with a PG-13 rating youre cheated out of any gratuitous sex and violence, so in the end all your left with is a limp story about a small town girl trying to make it in the big city. Boring.
My theory is that when Bruckheimers late partner Don Simpson was involved there was at least the potential for decadence. Simpson lived like a rock star and died like one, overweight and on the toilet. Without Simpson Bruckheimer wouldnt even dare the famous strip scene in Flash Dance where Jen Beals removes her bra at the table. Thats how big the loss of Simpson was.
Coyote Ugly commits the unforgivable sin of being trash, but not good trash. Without the sex or violence all thats left is a weak, cliché ridden film. If against my better judgement you go anyway, look for actor Bud Cort and a cameo from director Michael Bay as the photographer in the bar. Im Erik Petersen for Movie Magazine.
© 2000 - Erik Petersen - Air Date: 8/9/00
USA - 2000