Coyote Ugly

The only reason I went to see this film is because it features Foreign Correspondents star Melanie Lynskey, and I wanted to support the lady. For her fans, all I can suggest is that you watch the first 10 minutes of this film, then come back an hour later to glimpse her intermittently during the final 20 minutes. She's actually quite appealing, Joisey Goil accent and all, and I only wish there was more of her in the film; seeing as how she's fourth-billed, something tells me - and okay, maybe I have insider info - that her role was substantially reduced, to make more room for... well... does the image of five hot skanks on the Coyote Ugly poster tell you anything?

Anyway, the story is some treacly mush about a girl named Violet (Piper Perabo), a struggling country-western songwriter who leaves smalltown New Jersey for New York City to make it big. (Why she chose the Big Apple over the more obvious Nashville tells you a lot about the film's logic.) In order to make ends meet, Violet gets a job at a bar called Coyote Ugly, based on an actual East Village dive that features babes with attitude dancing on the bar and spraying horny male customers with water. Hoo-hah!

The bar sequences are actually rowdy, energetic, and fun to watch. They also make up only a small portion of the film. Coyote Ugly spends much more time forcing you to watch Violet sing (actually, lip-sync: country star LeAnn Rimes provides the voice, and even shows up at the end in an awkward cameo), struggle, fall in love, feel sorry for herself, and so on.

Seeing as how neither Lynskey nor the various supermodels are in the film that much, the bulk of the movie weighs on the shoulders of its little-known star Piper Perabo. She seems like a nice person, but there's no magnetism in her whiny screen presence. She's not a bad actor, but she's hardly interesting enough to hold a story. Director David McNally's work shows no personality whatsoever. And to say that Gina Wendkos' script is formulaic would be an understatement. To say it hauls out every single cliche in the book and lays them end to end is more accurate: Oh no, the dad is in the hospital! Sigh, the boyfriend is caught with another woman! But look, it's all a misunderstanding! And hooray, our heroine finally gets her turn in the spotlight. Yuck.

This movie's a waste of time.