Coyote Ugly

on August 04, 2000 by Mike Kerrigan
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Call it "Flashdance" meets "Cocktail." A kid with ambition to be a songwriter comes to the big city in search of fame and fortune. But instead of dancing on the stage at a bar, she lands a job where the stunningly attractive hired help actually dance on the bar. That's when they're not pouring drinks for wildly enthusiastic customers, that is. In both cases, however, they get regularly drenched in water.

   Welcome, folks, to the soaking wet dreams of Jerry Bruckheimer, who again proves that no idea is so overused than it can't be rinsed off, blow-dried and put back to work. "Coyote Ugly" is everything you would expect from the man with the loudest, flashiest company logo in the film business. It's noisy and showy with a driving music track like most of his other movies ("Top Gun," "The Rock," "Flashdance")--ear candy and eye candy in equal measure.

   The fact that the story has some gaping holes in it is not a big drawback as most moviegoers will have forgotten most of the film by the time they get to their car. That bar, for example, would have been shut down by the cops in a New York minute. Even in the Big Apple you cannot start a fire on the counter just so it makes the dancing more interesting.

   But none of it really matters. Piper Perabo, in the updated Jennifer Beals role, is sweet and charming. She has the winsome appeal of a young Julia Roberts and carries her first starring role with grace. The standout in supporting cast is Melanie Lynskey, the New Zealand actress from "Heavenly Creatures" and "Ever After" as Perabo's childhood friend. It's hard to believe that she wasn't brought up in New Jersey.

   Also in there is John Goodman, looking bigger than we've ever seen him, as Piper's worried dad. He works in a toll booth and a plot point has him being hit by a car and landing in the hospital. He recovers. No word on the car. Starring Piper Perabo, Adam Garcia, Maria Bello and Melanie Lynskey. Directed by David McNally. Written by Gina Wenkos and Jeff Nathanson. Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and Chad Oman. A Buena Vista release. Drama/romance. Rated PG-13 for sensuality. Running time: 103 min

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