What an amazingly bad movie this is. I know, I know; there are lots movie fans out there who still like the thing, be it for the flimsy "female empowerment" pretense or the non-stop jiggle & cheesecake factor -- but there's just no getting around it: Coyote Ugly is a terrible film.
It's stunningly superficial; it's plotless and inane and frequently puerile. It's poorly directed and atrociously cut together. The screenplay is abysmal and the actors look bored. Coyote Ugly is the stupider version of Cocktail -- and that should just not be possible.
You want a plot in six words? How about: "Girl moves to city to sing." Subplot? "She works at a strip club." Whoa, whoa, I can already hear the Coyote-faithful howling for my blood. No, you're right, it's not actually a strip club, but what do you call a bar in which sexy women dance around half-naked and pour water all over each other?
Exactly. Shine it up with all the faux-feminism you want: Coyote Ugly is a strip club. The fact that the filmmakers want you to believe otherwise just helps to strengthen my argument -- because this movie is nothing more than a porno flick aimed at 11-year-old boys. It's got more crotch shots and teasing ta-tas than any PG-13* movie should rightfully have, and it's a flick that leaves a bad taste in your mouth while jamming a migraine into your forehead. And it's amazingly, generically, biblically stupid. It's as if Showgirls had a pre-teen little sister who decided to plaster some make-up all over her face, strap on some fishnets, and act like a "big girl" -- and frankly, it's an embarrassing display.
Apparently producer Jerry Bruckheimer was tired of peddling his bombastic wares solely to the pre-pubescent testosterone squad, and decided he wanted to do a "girl's movie." And if this is what Jerry Bruckheimer considers a "girl's movie," remind me to never let the guy babysit my daughter. Which means it's a "boy's movie," right? So what's with all the earth-shatteringly awful (and overwhelmingly ineffective) "love story" subplotting that manages to stick its nose out once all the ass-shakin' is over and done with?
It's not just that Coyote Ugly is 100 minutes of incessant tease & jiggle material wedged into a narrative that makes Gilligan's Island look like Franz Kafka. I can respect a movie that exists just to have some good, sexy fun -- but this smug and smarmy pander-fest wants to have it both ways: Girl Power!! (but only if you're willing to shake your drenched hooters for a nice tip!)
Nobody escapes with their respect intact. Piper Perabo: cute as a button, screen presence of a fern. Maria Bello: well aware of the tripe she's spouting. Tyra Banks: proves that acting is probably a little harder than modeling. John Goodman: forced to shake his massive frame via striptease, thereby rendering moot the few small moments of charm he deposits randomly into the movie.
Perhaps if the non-breast-centric material in Coyote Ugly were even remotely realistic, plausible, or smart (I'd have settled for non-moronic), I could look past the grimy, glitzy sheen of this debacle -- but the plot is cribbed from a book called "The World's Oldest Retired Movie Plots," the dialogue is so inept it feels like the work of a horny 15-year-old writing with just one hand, and the directorial approach can best be described as, well, atrocious. Director David McNally (who hasn't exactly proven me wrong by moving on to direct Kangaroo Jack) opts to frame his flick like a feature-length beer commercial. When in doubt, just cut to something neon, screaming, or laden with cleavage. Oh, and the best way to prevent a woman from being raped by a gang of horny gropers? Distract her attackers by breaking into a breathy karaoke rendition of an old Blondie song!
Ok, I hear you. "Guilty Pleasure," I get it. I've got tons of guilty pleasures of my own (several of them from Bruckheimer's own oeuvre), and this flick may well be one of yours. And if Coyote Ugly was intent on being good, trashy, self-admitted crap, it probably wouldn't have left this unpleasant grease spot within my brain. But this flick actually has delusions of drama, character, coherence, and heart. And that's just a huge, screaming joke. It's as worthless as a Juggs magazine with all the pictures torn out -- which you then try to sell to the ladies "for the articles."
Frankly I'm thrilled that Maria Bello and Bridget Moynahan moved on to bigger and better projects, because I think they're both damn solid actors. And this flick could have done for their careers what Cocktail did for Bryan Brown's.
(* Aha! But this version is NOT rated PG-13! Ooh, what's Uncle Jerry got for us in this "extended" (no pun intended) edition? Well, there's a sex scene that involves Piper Perabo. And by "Piper Perabo" what I really mean is "a topless body double inserted into a glossy sex scene by means of some of the worst editorial cuts you'll ever see outside of a Shannon Tweed movie." Aside from that, I'm fairly certain that you also get A) a few extra minutes with John Goodman, B) 31 extra seconds of Tyra Banks shaking her hips on top of a bar, C) an out-of-left-field "Coyote Softball" sequence that's almost as sexy as it is ludicrous, and D) an extended "should I buy this? or this? or THIS?" shopping montage.)
Video: Widescreen (2.40:1) Anamorphic transfer, which (I'll freely admit) looks pretty damn excellent. Doesn't make the movie any better, but if you're a fan, you'll appreciate the transfer quality.
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround, DTS 5.1 Surround, or French 5.1. If you happen to love the mega-played-out rock tunes that run throughout the movie ("I Got the Power" by Snap? Billy Idol's "Rebel Yell"? "Pour Some Sugar On Me" twice?), then you'll be in musical heaven. Otherwise, the practically flawless aural presentation serves only to make the dialogue crystal-clear, which doesn't exactly help the film.
As is seemingly par for the course with Disney these days (see also: the "extended" edition of Gone in Sixty Seconds), the extra features on this double-dip are the exact same ones found on the original DVD. The only thing you're buying (aside from a movie you already own) are the cutting-room floor droppings.
There's a full-length audio commentary that's cleverly called Coyote Commentary. All five of the hip-swingin' alcohol-slingers are present and accounted for: Piper Perabo, Maria Bello, Tyra Banks, Bridget Moynahan and Izabella Miko. Ms. Bello opens the commentary by lauding Mr. Bruckheimer for producing a film that "has women as lead characters" -- I honestly can't tell if she's trying to be ironic. The conversation quickly branches off into "my first apartment" stories as I search my desk for a something sharp. To soothe the sudden and aching throb in my left arm, I skip through the yak-track at random. McNally pops up a few times. The ladies continue to blather about somewhat aimlessly. No offense to the actresses, who are clearly smart people (notice I didn't say "the models"), but their anecdotes are boring and, honestly, it's not really all that fascinating to learn that "the whole clothes store ... was a set!" To be fair, I may be acting a bit unkind -- but you try enjoying a multi-directional commentary from a movie you pretty much detest.
Search for the Stars has three chapters:
The Dreamer (3:37) sees the very likable Ms. Perabo as she gets ready for her first big movie. (Well, if you don't count The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle.)
Coyotes (4:39) delivers the gals. And wait. Jerry Bruckheimer just said, and I quote, "I love to give an audience something that they don't feel familiar with." As if Jerry was the inventor of boobs and beers. Heh. Also hilariously telling is the moment when Mr. McNally says something about the girls having really distinct personalities -- and the next shot is that of an amazing blonde bombshell in a bra. Tyra Banks sums up the characterizations perfectly: one's a cute flirt "who always wears pink," one's tough "with her biker wear," and the Banks character? Heck she "just wears Indian-type-inspired stuff cuz that's just what she likes."
Mr. O'Donnell gives us 180 seconds of love interest, as played by Adam Garcia. Only young guy in a cast like this? Lucky Adam.
Inside the Songs (3:35) explains how one movie can improve through the combined power of Diane Warren and LeAnn Rimes.
Coyote 101 is also so staggeringly insightful that it warrants three separate chapters:
A Place to Get Ugly (2:08) tells us practically nothing about the central Coyote Ugly set.
Calling the Shots (1:40) details the bartendress boot camp, where you learn how to pour a shot and spin a bottle.
Shakin' It (2:50) sheds a spotlight onto the dance choreography, which, according to the experts, goes "from hip-hip to clogging to ...sexy!"
Additional Scenes is a collection of stuff that didn't only not make the theatrical cut -- it also didn't make it into the "unrated extended" version! So surely we're talking about some high-end material here. Violet's Goodbye, Driving With Gloria, Stolen Goods, Lil's Lesson, and Gloria & Violet are now left in the lurch until the "extra-extended version" of Coyote Ugly hits DVD in five years.
Action Overload is a 68-second barrage of images related to ice, water, breasts, bottles, and John Goodman.
Rounding out the whole annoying affair are a LeAnn Rimes music video (the five-chord and fluffy Can't Fight the Moonlight) and the Coyote Ugly theatrical trailer, which delivers more entertainment in 2.5 minutes than the entire movie does in 101.
But hey, what do I know? Coyote Ugly grossed $60 million during its theatrical run. It sold really well on DVD the first time around, and now it's being released in an inevitably-profitable "extended" edition. So clearly I'm in the minority regarding this specific flick. And that's just fine with me.
If you're a fan of Coyote Ugly and you don't already own the original DVD, this package will make your day. If you do own the first release, you just have to decide: does 6.5 extra minutes of "character development" (which was excised for good reason, mind you) and 27 seconds of anonymous boobage demand your 15 bucks?
Well, you already know what I think. And if I sound unfairly cynical regarding Coyote Ugly, that's only because the movie's own haze of smarmy cynicism oozed out of the DVD and picked a fight with me first.