Chick Flick Indeed

Coyote Ugly is now playing in theaters nationwide.

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Coyote Ugly, the newest film by king of schlock producer Jerry Bruckheimer, involves not a single American-Indian medicine man out for revenge on the country which ruined his people.

A pity, because that would have been kind of cool, especially if the medicine man could turn into a coyote, or summon a coyote or at least do something with a coyote. Perhaps, if there was to be no coyote, there could be horribly ugly people to laugh at. A good guffaw at those who happened to be born hideous, only to later cheer at their transformation to beautiful

swans, would have been the tonic to this less-than-sunny summer flick. Unfortunately, this is not the case with Coyote Ugly.

Adding insult to this horrible misnomer of a title is that Bruckheimer did not even make this movie about the bar in New York called "Coyote Ugly."

Believe it or not, this movie is named after a real New York bar, which is staffed only by women (gasp!), who wear a whole lot of tight, skimpy clothes and spend much of their time dancing on the bar, berating the customers who ask for water and imbibing in great quantities of alcoholic beverages. Oh yeah - they also make a fortune doing so. A movie like that could have massive attitude, bar fights, sleaze, grease and hell of an entertaining time all rolled into one. I would pay money to see a campy movie about the rise of one of the East Village's sleaziest drinking establishments.

This is not what Coyote Ugly is about though. Perhaps this movie should have been called I Wanna Be Diane Warren, as it appears Jerry Bruckheimer figured he owed the songwriter one seeing that she penned both "How Do I Live" and "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" for Con Air and Armageddon, respectively. Both those songs did extremely well and gained a lot of exposure for those films. In similar fashion, Coyote Ugly contains four Warren originals, all voiced by LeAnn Rimes.

Hell, if you like Diane Warren, you'll probably think this is an interesting and thoughtful movie, and you probably also think that a bunch of women who can do nothing more than seduce men are examples of modern feminists (the film-makers sure do; check the production notes if the movie doesn't make that clear to you). As a guy, there's some good eye candy for a while, but even the movie can't keep that simple premise up, even with its starring sexy sirens tramping about the bar in their h-h-hot outfits.

This movie isn't even about a bar; it's about Violet Sanford (Piper Perabo, who looks a bit like a very cute horse) and her attempt to be discovered as the next great songwriter. Oh, but she's got stage fright, which is the same thing that kept her deceased mother from making it big, and her dad (John Goodman, good as always) doesn't really approve and needs

Violet at home to help with the laundry. Then there's Kevin (Adam Garcia), an Australian with some "secrets" who wants nothing more than to help Violet, but she's going to screw it up. The bar does play a significant part in the movie, but never seems the focus, and it easily disappears for long periods of time when it isn't called for.

When the bar is there, it's exciting. The girls are very sexy, have some attitude and are sort of fun to watch (and, far less so, to listen to). There's the hard-but-matronly owner, Lil (Maria Bello), the readily available Cammie (Izabella Miko, straight from Poland, and thank God she has come to America), and the bitchy Rachael (Bridget Moynahan), who seems to just want to get Violet fired. Plus, Tyra Banks occasionally shows up as Zoe, a former coyote who now is a law school student (sure).

Tell me you wouldn't enjoy watching these ladies set a bar on fire, jump on pipes to avoid burning to death, then dance to "The Devil Went to Georgia" on whatever is left. And since Violet is new, we get to watch her screw up a lot, which is pretty amusing (she must break something like 1200

bottles of hard alcohol).

Contrary to common sense, the bar drops out of the picture. Violet can't take the time commitment waitressing requires and her dad disapproves of the sleaziness, and of course, he gets in an accident and she has to help him. Additionally, she finally gets a big break that she doesn't chicken out on, where she's going to sing her finest song. Violet then sits down at the keyboard and composes a "hip-hop" influenced song that sounds exactly what every other Diane Warren song sounds like.

It's all really quite silly, especially since Rimes has a cameo where she sings the songs Violet wrote, for a little while with Violet. Ummm, since Rimes is doing the singing for Violet anyway (although the two sound nothing alike), doesn't the director (first-timer David McNally) understand that a duet will just sound odd? This perplexing problem is solved by not

actually putting both voices in the mix, which is just as odd. A lot of the movie is spent on stuff like this and it moves at a very slow pace, quite the opposite of how you'd expect a coyote - even an ugly one - to move.


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