Producer Jerry Bruckheimer has the successful formula for a movie that will make studios happy and further his career. That’s all Coyote Ugly (2000) is – a formula movie. The music helps the movie until they repeatedly hit you with the song “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor. This movie works on some levels as an earnest drama, as Violet, played by Piper Perabo, dreams of making a life in the big city as she tries to maintain the close relationship with her father, well played by John Goodman.
Violet encounters some disappointment and eventually finds herself at a bar called Coyote Ugly run by Lil, Maria Bello (ER, Payback). The name Coyote Ugly comes from a term derived from a particular condition experienced by Lil – an entertaining little tidbit that adds to the movie which can best be described as a collection of fun scenes loosely bound together.
John Goodman shines as Violet’s protective father especially in an interior scene where he dances with Violet, but the other characters don’t add much to the story. Tyra Banks got lots of the screen time in the previews, but doesn’t contribute much to the movie with her character, Zoe. Adam Garcia plays Violet’s romantic interest, Kevin, and with a muddled Australian accent. The eclectic mix of vixen bartenders also includes Melanie Lynskey, Bridget Moynahan and Izabella Miko.
The creators of Coyote Ugly could’ve went with a grittier ending, but unfortunately chose a typical happy ending complete with a cheesy Leann Rimes cameo. This ending may add entertainment value for some viewers, but, for others, it douses the overall impact of the characters from a lukewarm flame to a soppy mess.
I find it odd how this movie gains popularity for glorifying alcohol, but movies like Requiem for a Dream attract negative protests for using drugs as the subject matter – drug and alcohol abuse have the same damaging effects. Coyote Ugly is an entertaining piece of fluff that sometimes tries to masquerade as a tough city drama.