is either a girls' film for boys or a boys' film for girls. Either way, it's undemanding tosh that remixes 80s "classics" like Fame
and Dirty Dancing
for the turn of the century. The main attraction is Coyote Ugly itself, a raucous New York bar run by tough-on-the-outside softie Lil (Maria Bello) where the drinks and the customers are straight and the girls who serve have to be skilled at lightning-fast mental maths when adding up complex rounds as well as a sort of clothed stripping as they line-dance, karaoke-wail or pole-hug on top of the often-flaming bar itself. The plot is a trifle about a shrinking violet actually called Violet (Piper Parabo) who comes to the big city to do one-better than her showbiz near-miss deceased mother and make it as a songwriter but is paralysed by a stage-fright she only overcomes after a couple of energetic nights working the crowds at Coyote Ugly. There's the usual on-off romance, with a sensitive Australian bloke (Adam Garcia) and some soap with an estranged Dad (always-good-value John Goodman) who is hospitalised at just the right moment to prompt a family revelation and a reunion that pays off with a not-unexpected happy ending.
It all boils down to a 12-certificate teenage magazine romance set in what amounts to a nudie bar where there's no actual nudity. Both the men in the heroine's life seriously question whether writhing suggestively for drunken lechers is an empowering activity for an independent girl but since that's more or less the film's strongest visual effect the script has to come down on the side of the girls--if not the customers. The supporting babes--Russian blonde Cammie (Izabella Miko), ferocious brunette Rachel (Bridget Moynahan) and upwardly-mobile Zoe (Tyra Banks)--gyrate and model Spice Girls cast-off gear, but make less of an impression than Melanie Lynskey (the "other one" from Heavenly Creatures) as the devoted, slightly dumpy best friend back home. Like most Jerry Bruckheimer products, it's slickly put-together, at once exciting and predictable, cut like a commercial or a pop promo, directed by a non-entity (David McNally), fantastical yet blue-collar "real" and self-destructs in the mind after viewing. --Kim Newman
On the DVD: The disc is jammed with special features and bonus material: "Search for the Stars" outlines the quest to find the young cast members; "Inside the Song" offers an analysis of the tunes, a voiceover by LeAnn Rimes and the thoughts of songwriter Diana Warren; "Coyote 101"describes the ins and outs of the bar itself, from the drink mixes to the dancers; while "Action Overload" simply shows full-force action sequences from the film. The disc also contains four deleted scenes, the LeAnn Rimes music video, "Can't fight the Moonlight", the theatrical trailer and an energetic commentary by the Coyotes themselves, Tara Banks, Maria Bello, Izabella Miko, Bridget Moynahan and Piper Perbo. Although the disc certainly doesn't scrimp on the special features front, each one tends to be fairly short and uninformative, lacking detail. The DVD itself gives the visual and audio excellence you would expect from a recent Hollywood blockbuster with a 5.1 audio ratio and crisp widescreen format of 2.35:1. --Nikki Disney
Coyote Ugly [DVD]  [DVD] (2001) Piper Perabo; Adam Garcia; John Goodman