COYOTE UGLY

Susan Granger’s review of “COYOTE UGLY”

Adding a new finale, a flashy musical number at the hip, rowdy bar where the exhibitionistic young women work, caused this Jerry Bruckheimer film to almost miss its August 4th opening date. And – who knows? – perhaps it was the only fitting conclusion to this cinematic amalgam of Hooters, “Cocktail” and “Flashdance,” written by Gina Wendkos and directed by David McNally, a veteran of TV commercials. Newcomer Piper Perabo stars as a naive, 21 year-old aspiring New Jersey singer-songwriter who ventures across the Hudson River to seek fame and fortune as a barmaid in Manhattan’s gritty, high-energy Coyote Ugly bar, strutting her seductive shots-and-beer stuff under the watchful eye of bar owner Maria Bello, who mandates: “You are to appear to be available but never be available. Other tantalizing, dancing “coyotes” include Izabella Miko, Bridget Moynahan and model Tyra Banks. Coyote Ugly’s a treasure chest (pardon the pun!) of unruly, bizarre behavior – like hosing down the crowd if someone orders water, even setting fire to the bar – but that’s about the only interesting thing in this otherwise dull, wretchedly clichŽ-filled movie. Predictably, there’s a skeptical guy Piper falls for – Adam Garcia. Her apartment gets robbed and her nice-guy, widower dad, played by John Goldman, is hospitalized – yawn! There’s a sexual tease with tight, revealing costumes but no nudity. It’s rated PG-13. The sound-track rocks loudly even if it doesn’t exactly roll – with singer LeAnn Rimes dubbing Piper Perabo’s voice and making a cameo appearance near the end of the film. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Coyote Ugly” is an undulating, sappy 3. If you want to find the REAL Coyote Ugly watering hole, it’s on 10th Avenue in the East Village.

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