A conversation with co-workers today somehow included a mention of the colossal stink bomb Coyote Ugly. It's one of my most hated films, but it was also one of my favorite reviews to write. I reprint it here, basically so I can just send these people a link instead of retyping everything. The rest of you can enjoy it too. Or not.
Coyote Ugly (2000)
Rating: 0.5 stars out of 5.0 stars
The following review will contain some spoilers. However, if I actually spoil something that you couldn't figure out before the opening credits started to roll, you have bigger problems to deal with before getting mad at me.
Coyote Ugly is awful. It's the perfect definition of a mundane, cookie-cutter, mindless Hollywood production. It has no plot to speak of, no character development, and nothing in the film makes an ounce of sense. It's appeal apparently is supposed to be "Hot chicks! Cute guys!" Whatever.
Now follow along with me here. Violet "Jersey" Sanford (Piper Perabo) leaves her home in New Jersey and moves 50 miles away to New York City to become a songwriter. I'll say that again... she MOVES to become a songwriter. Last time I checked, you can write a song almost anywhere.
So, you're starting to form an argument against me already eh? So you're saying, "She had to go where the record companies are." Well smartypants... she spends essentially one day visiting various offices, trying to get someone to listen to her demo tape. ONE day. Previously, she lived in New Jersey, 50 miles away from New York. There's no need for her to move to New York City... it's an hour's drive. Take a day, drive to the city with your silly, naive ideas and get rejected. At least you won't come home to discover your hideous New York apartment has been burglarized.
Later, after every company informs her that they don't accept unsolicited tapes, she gets an idea... she'll MAIL the tapes out. I'll say that again... she moves to New York City so she can MAIL tapes out to record companies. I guess there's no postal service 50 MILES AWAY IN NEW JERSEY. Now, I don't know why she figured she'd get a better response by mailing her tapes, but they all come back stamped "Unsolicited Mail". So what does she do? She dumps them all out into her stairwell. Nice. Hi New York, here's more trash (the mail I mean... not the chick). Afterwards, she buys a computer and burns demo CDs. Yes, that's the solution. CDs instead of tapes.
So she needs a job. She applies for one at a bar called Coyote Ugly, where scantily clad, generic "hot chicks" pour the drinks and Riverdance on the bar, to the cheers of salivating men and women alike. She's hired. Soon she's thrashing about on the bar while the other "coyotes" dump pitchers of water over her. Oh, and later, she squelches an impending riot in the bar by singing. I'll say that again... she prevents the outbreak of a RIOT by SINGING. Just think, all we needed when the Rodney King riots broke out was a generic hot chick to climb on top of a burning Oldsmobile and belt out a tune.
What's even more absurd is that this bar, which lends the film its title and eats up well over a third of the entire movie has no bearing on ANYTHING whatsoever. The bar has as much importance to the story of Coyote Ugly as the robot IG-88 did in The Empire Strikes Back. No one who works in the bar contributes to the "songwriting" plot (if you can call it that), she doesn't meet anyone in the bar who can help her with her career, and nothing important even happens there. All that really happens there is that patrons get DOUSED in alcohol (literally... the coyotes constantly hose down the crowd with alcohol) and people laugh and cheer and happily give up their money. Imagine that, people PAY to have alcohol dumped on them... and react as if it's the highlight of their life.
Also, I know New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has implemented some new policies in New York... but when did the EMF song "Unbelievable" become the new official song of New York City? Apparently everywhere you go in New York, this one song will either accompany you, or is playing inside whatever establishment you enter. And early in the film there's a big sing-a-long to the song "I Will Survive". Can we have a moratorium on that song please?
Then there's the finale. LeAnn Rimes (who provided Jersey's singing voice in the film) shows up at the end to sing one of Jersey's songs on the Coyote Ugly bar. While LeAnn Rimes is singing the song, the crowd starts to chant "Jersey! Jersey!" I'll say that again... music superstar LeAnn Rimes is performing two feet away from a drunken crowd, bumping and thrashing around with the other coyotes, and the crowd pays her no attention, instead chanting the name of the SONGWRITER.
The only shining moment in Coyote Ugly is the presence of John Goodman, who can make even bad material tolerable. As Jersey's father, he provides some humanity in a film that otherwise completely lacks in that one crucial quality. Late in the film, he even makes the same comment to Jersey that I was about to yell at the screen. I only wish that his compulsion to work would result in better projects.
Ever heard the expression "beaten with an ugly stick?" Someone needed to beat everyone involved with Coyote Ugly with an intelligence stick... hard. Yes, there are hot chicks here. But as I've said time and time again, hot chicks do not a good movie make.