SHOWGIRLS but with clothes!
COYOTE UGLY is a romantic comedy produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. Enough
The film is one long sexual tease that flaunts the MPAA rules.
SHOWGIRLS was NC-17, but COYOTE UGLY comes in at just PG-13 since the
women keep their skimpy clothes on. This means that lots of preteens
will discover wet T-shirts and provocative dances, maybe inspiring some
to grow up and become exotic dancers. The picture is directed by David
McNally, whose previous work was herding lobsters who were advertising
beer in the most popular commercial at the 1999 Super Bowl.
Okay, let's put the rating argument aside for the moment.
The film, which is so noisy that you may need earplugs, nominally
concerns an aspiring song writer, Violet Sanford (Piper Perabo, last
seen as FBI agent Karen Sympathy in THE ADVENTURES OF ROCKY AND
BULLWINKLE). Violet leaves her widower father, Bill (John Goodman), to
travel the 42 miles from her home in New Jersey to a cliché of a
flea-bit room in New York City. "I put pepper spray in your purse," he
tells her. "Even if you're not sure, start spraying."
Needing money, she becomes a "coyote." Coyotes are women too wild to
work at Hooters. Coyotes spend their time dancing on the top of the bar
at a place called Coyote Ugly (don't ask), which is run by a
tough-as-nails blonde named Lil (Maria Bello from PAYBACK). Other
coyotes include Cammie (Izabella Miko) and Rachel (Bridget Moynahan).
Violet, whom they nickname Jersey, takes the place of Zoe (Tyra Banks),
who is leaving a life of shaking her booty in order to go to law school.
Gina Wendkos's script is full of such gems. Another is that Violet can
only sing when no one is there or when the lights are out. Guess what
will happen during her big stage fright scene?
The bar is always a mob scene. The women spray the crowd with water
hoses to rile them up. And they spray each other to get the men hot
again. They even set fire to the bar to liven up the place even more.
Generally, however, they dance as seductively as possible in cheesy,
little outfits. They should have premiered the movie at Hugh Hefner's
Playboy mansion. (The movie's only sex scene starts besides a cord
board cutout of President Clinton.)
Lil hires Violet solely because Violet looks like a kindergarten
teacher, which she is sure will make the men horny. (Following the
movie's sexual tease theme, Lil tells Violet her main rule for her
workers is, "You are to appear to be available but never be available.")
Introducing her to the salivating males, Lil says that Violet is not
only a kindergarten teacher, but an ex-nun as well, "who's tired of
being the only virgin in New York City." Lil likes to make her
announcements at the bar using a bullhorn.
While not cavorting on the bar with her coworkers, Violet is involved in
a romantic liaison with an Australian named Kevin (Adam Garcia). This
whole subplot is a throwaway designed to kill time between the erotic
dance numbers. The lovers never take their clothes off so that the
movie can keep its coveted PG-13 rating. They wrap themselves in sheets
after sex so that we won't be shocked. This is pretty insulting to the
audience's intelligence since the bar scenes push limits left and right.
The thin plot, which makes soap operas seem profound in comparison, has
an utterly predictable conclusion. It's really just a music video
brought to the big screen in order to rake in the big bucks. For adults
desperately searching for any guilty pleasure they can find, this may be
the movie for them.
COYOTE UGLY runs 1:35. Officially it is rated PG-13 for sensuality. It
would be acceptable for older teenagers. (Together with NUTTY PROFESSOR
II, also rated PG-13, these two films in current release make a mockery
of the PG-13 rating.)
Copyright © 2000 Steve Rhodes