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Coyote Ugly

review by Ren C.


Rated PG-13

Studio: Disney

Running Time: 101 minutes

Starring Piper Perabo, John Goodman, Adam Garcia

Written by Gina Wendkos

Directed by David McNally

Retail Price: $22.99

Features: Audio Commentary with "The Coyotes", Selected Scenes Commentaries with Producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director David McNally, "Search For The Stars" featurette, "Inside The Songs" featurette, "Coyote 101" featurette, Additional Scenes, Action Overload, Leann Rimes Music Video, Theatrical Trailer, Bonus Trailers

Specs: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English DTS 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, English Closed Captions, English Captions, Spanish Subtitles, Chapter Selection

"Something that you may not know about Jerry Bruckheimer is that he makes movies with very strong female leads." This quote comes from Maria Bello on the commentary of "Coyote Ugly." Thinking about her words, I realize that she is right. Bruckheimer is the man responsible, good or bad, for bringing the world both "Dangerous Minds" and "Flashdance", both of which reflected females in a very positive light. Despite the advertising campaign that may have portrayed otherwise, "Coyote Ugly" does exactly the same thing.

The movie revolves around Violet Sanford (Piper Perabo), who has decided to leave her roots in New Jersey and follow her dream of becoming a big-time singer in New York. In New York, she discovers pretty quickly that life isn't going to be as easy as she thought it was. She tries several places to submit her demo tape, only to be rejected each time. She finally gives her demo tape to a man she meets in a bar, who she is convinced is a record executive. Actually, he is an employee of the bar named Kevin O'Donnell (Adam Garcia). He listens to the tape several times, and eventually tells Violet that he is not an executive. One thing leads to another, and the two fall for each other.

At the same time, Violet is searching desperately for a job, and she finds one in the strangest of places. She gets a job at a bar called Coyote Ugly, owned by a very tough, very feisty woman named Lil (Maria Bello). Violet is overwhelmed when she first sees the bar, and meets the other "coyotes", including Cammie (Izabella Miko), and Rachel (Bridget Moynahan). Over time, she starts to fit in at the bar, but the real question becomes, will she ever find her dream?

While this isn't necessarily isn't a movie that has an intricate, twisting plot, it is definitely a movie that makes a point, and an uplifting one at that. Each of the actresses defines her role and stakes out a personality of her own. In addition, there aren't excessive amounts of superfluous scenes that bog down the plot. Even Violet's interactions with her father William (John Goodman) always work within the context of the plot. The film is definitely not the T&A extravaganza it was made out to be in the advertising campaign, and is actually a fairly motivational film. Overall, this stands up as one of the best female-driven movies in recent memory.

The video here looks quite good, with the very rich color palate coming through well. Colors are bright and vibrant, and blacks are, for the most part, deep and rich. There was no grain evident, although I couldn't help but notice a lot of shimmering effects at various points throughout the movie. Aside from these, this was an overall pleasing transfer.

Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS tracks have both been provided here and are quite good. Both tracks make the most of the numerous musical selections in the movie, at times making it sound like the bar is in the room with the viewer. Dialogue comes through crisply and clearly and ambient sounds, especially those present in the bar, further enhance the listening experience. I actually slightly preferred the Dolby track, although in this case, the tracks are nearly the same and it is just a matter of personal preference.

Have you ever gotten a really small present in a really big box? That is the best way to describe the features of "Coyote Ugly". While the features themselves fill two menu screens, the majority of them are very short and seem almost to cheat the viewer out of any more in-depth information. Most of these features could have, and should have, been combined to form one longer documentary, as they look to have been culled from the same footage.

The first of these is Search For the Stars. This is split into three segments, the first of which is "The Dreamer", detailing the search for someone to play the part of Violet Sanford, eventually filled by Piper Perabo. Some slightly interesting footage here, including a portion of Perabo's screen test. The next segment, "Coyotes" deals with filling the roles of, appropriately enough, the Coyotes. Nothing groundbreaking here, just some interviews with the actresses in the roles, along with producer Jerry Bruckheimer. The final segment in this part is "Mr. O'Donnell", describing the search for the actor that would finally be Adam Garcia. Again, nothing particularly revolutionary here.

The next featurette, Inside the Songs, describes the writing of the songs for the movie, and their incorporation. Included here is an interview with everyone's favorite songwriter, Diane Warren, who is responsible for some of the schmalziest pop to come out of the music industry in the last twenty years. The odds are, if there was a sappy ballad in a movie, it was written by Diane Warren. Also included here is a short interview segment with Leann Rimes, who became the singing voice for Perabo in the movie.

Moving on to the final portion of the documentary, we find Coyote 101, which is also broken up into three segments, "A Place To Get Ugly", "Calling The Shots", and "Shakin' It". In contrast to "Search for the Stars", where the segments seemed to go a bit too long, these segments seemed to end just as they were getting interesting. In order, these detail what the bar is, how the actresses trained to tend bar, and how they trained for the dance sequences.

Next is a series of five Additional Scenes, all of which are fairly short and most likely were cut for time. None of the scenes were terribly vital, and most deal with Violet and her hometown friends. Had these been included, they more than likely would have bogged the movie down.

Also included is a full-length Audio Commentary from the Coyotes' themselves, which is very enjoyable as it is both obvious that they have a good rapport, and they also provide a lot of information about the making of the movie.

Selected scene Commentaries are also included from producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director David McNally. Bruckheimer comments on five scenes, McNally on six, and both seem as though they were audio clips taken from interviews done at another time, and they were not screen specific. Neither was particularly fascinating, but nice to have nonetheless.

Action Overload is a very bizarre montage of dance scenes from the movie that lasts about forty-five seconds. I'm not sure what this was used for or why, but it's nice to have here, I guess. The Music Video for Leann Rimes' "Can't Fight the Moonlight" is also included, and it is the standard video from a movie, with clips from the movie and artist's performance spliced together.

Wrapping up the special features is the theatrical trailer, along with Sneak Peeks for "Gone in 60 Seconds" and "Shanghai Noon". Note that these "Sneak Peeks" are also forced trailers before the movie, although pressing the menu button will get you past them.

This is a very fun, very enjoyable movie. While it is certainly not a cerebral movie, it is definitely one that you can go back to and get enjoyment from each time. The audio and video are very good, and while the features are not stellar, they're good for what they are. The price is a little bit steep, but if you're a fan of the movie, it's worth it. Overall, recommended.

(4/5 - NOT included in final score)




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