Coyote Ugly

USA 2000

Reviewed by Mark Olsen


Our synopses give away the plot in full, including surprise twists.

Leaving behind the security of life at home with her widowed father in suburban New Jersey, Violet Sanford moves to Manhattan to pursue her dream of becoming a songwriter. Mistaking him for a music booker, she gives grill cook Kevin a tape of her songs; the two soon begin dating.

After her apartment is robbed, Violet nears the end of her tether, emotionally and financially. She learns that there might be a job opening in a bar called Coyote Ugly. Dropping by, Violet is offered a position by the owner Lil. When she returns at night, Coyote Ugly is swarming. The bartenders get up to dance on the bar but Violet refuses to join in; Lil sends her home. Seeing Violet break up a fight on her way out, Lil gives her a second chance.

Soon Violet gets used to the demands of her new job. She continues to attempt to realise her song-writing ambitions although she is plagued by stage fright when she has to sing for people. When her father drops in at the bar on a rowdy night, they have a falling out. Soon after she loses Kevin and her job. Later, Violet finally overcomes her stage fright, wins a song-writing competition and reconciles with her dad and Kevin. In the end, Violet and country-music star LeAnn Rimes perform their hit song in Coyote Ugly.


Pity the young director who works for producer Jerry Bruckheimer. The man behind such films as Con Air, Enemy of the State and Gone in Sixty Seconds, Bruckheimer creates movies with such a distinctive style one imagines it must be difficult for a director to exert creative influence. Typically, the producer plucks his directors from the world of commercials and music videos, and his films tend to show the kind of quick-cutting, high-sheen aesthetic characteristic of television advertising and MTV.

In Coyote Ugly it is at once startling and no surprise at all that Bruckheimer and debut director David McNally tell the relatively small story of young Violet Sanford moving to the big city to pursue a career as a songwriter in a high-impact manner. Essentially treating the story like an action picture, they map the big-fisted, hyperbolic dynamics of the action set-piece on to Coyote Ugly's bar-room sequences (where the glamorous bartenders dance for their spirited customers). Instead of blowing up cars or buildings, Bruckheimer and McNally create a film in which the girls themselves are oversized, larger than life - and it's their over-the-top antics which sustain the film rather than the scant character and plot development.

It's hard then to see Coyote Ugly as a back-to-basics exercise for Bruckheimer, although the film ostensibly revisits the smaller scale of such works as Flashdance (which he made with fellow producer Don Simpson in 1983). The characterisation is kept at an elemental level so as to keep the story moving, and in an effort to prove it has a healthy attitude towards the modest degeneracy it features, the screenplay (by Gina Wendkos, based on a magazine article by Elizabeth Gilbert) repeatedly falls back on the so-called empowerment of contemporary shake-that-thing feminism to the point of a certain guarded defensiveness in a number of the dialogue exchanges. Throughout, Coyote Ugly tries hard to maintain its appeal to both male and female audiences, just as it strives to veer between winsomely light-hearted and inspiringly dramatic tones.

Relative newcomer Piper Perabo in the central role of Violet exudes a certain charm but is ultimately sunk by the schematic nature of her character's rise. Her fellow bartenders (Izabella Miko, Bridget Moynahan and Tyra Banks) are ridiculously underdeveloped, with only Maria Bello's tough/tender bar owner making any sort of lasting impression. John Goodman tries hard in the role of Violet's overprotective father, but he can't overcome the material at hand. Stalwart character actors such as Victor Argo and Bud Cort are similarly underused in small roles, though Bruckheimer collaborator Michael Bay (director of Armageddon and the upcoming Pearl Harbor) pops up amusingly as a newspaper photographer.

More laughably misguided than outright offensive, Coyote Ugly ultimately has such an odd good-naturedness about it that it is difficult to take it seriously, let alone grow angry at it. Some sort of achievement in the ongoing oeuvre of Jerry Bruckheimer, Coyote Ugly is distastefully irresistible, a product that delivers more or less what it promises.


David McNally
Jerry Bruckheimer
Chad Oman
Gina Wendkos
Director of Photography
Amir Mokri
William Goldenberg
Production Designer
Jon Hutman
Trevor Horn
©Disney Enterprises, Inc.
©Touchstone Pictures and Jerry Bruckheimer, Inc.
Production Companies
Touchstone Pictures/Jerry Bruckheimer Films
Executive Producers
Mike Stenson
Scott Gardenhour
Associate Producers
Jennifer Krug Worthington
Pat Sandston
Jeff Eamer
Executive in Charge of Production
Jerry Bruckheimer Films:
Kristieanne Groelinger
Production Supervisors
Christine C. Fransen
Additional Photography:
Diane Sabatini
Production Co-ordinators
Melissa Wiechmann
New York Unit:
Shell Hecht
Unit Production Managers
Alma Kuttruff
New York Unit:
Carl Clifford
Location Managers
Janice Polley
New York:
Robert T. Striem
Michael Nickodem
2nd Unit Director
Darek Wolski
Assistant Directors
Tom Mack
David Kelley
Andrew Ward
Jack Steinberg
New York Unit:
Gregory G. Hale
Denis Doyle
Eric Yellin
Script Supervisor
Julie Pitkanen
Bonnie Timmerman
ADR Voice:
Barbara Harris
Alison McBryde
Script Co-ordinator
Gary Reick
2nd Unit Director of Photography
Darek Wolski
Camera Operators
William A. O'Drobinak
Stephen St. John
2nd Unit:
Kenn Ferro
Simon Jayes
Steadicam Operator
Stephen St. John
Special Effects
Joe Ramsey
New York Unit, Supervisor:
Steve Kirshoff
New York Unit:
Robert J. Scupp
Art Directors
Gae Buckley
Bruce Alan Miller
New York Unit:
Ray Kluga
Richard Butler
Set Designers
John Warnke
John Perry Goldsmith
Set Decorators
Rosemary Brandenburg
New York Unit:
Beth A. Rubino
Storyboard Artists
Richard Newsome
Gerald Forton
Richard K. Buoen
Costume Designer
Marlene Stewart
Costume Supervisors
John C. Casey
New York Unit:
Jill Anderson
Barret P. Hong
Kris Evans
Darla Albright
Voni Hinkle
New York Unit:
Rose Chatterton
Additional Music/ Arrangements
Jamie Muhoberac
Garry Hughes
Steve Bartek
Featured Musicians
Jamie Muhoberac
Garry Hughes
Tim Pierce
John Robinson
Curt Bisquera
Mac Robinson
Alan Pasqua
Strings Orchestrator/ Conductor
David Campbell
Music Supervisors
Kathy Nelson
Bob Badami
Music Co-ordinator for Trevor Horn
Mary Anne Campagna
Music Editors
Shannon Erbe
Tami R. Goldman
Supervising Music Production Mixer
Joseph Magee
Music Playback
Earl Martin
Music Recordist/Mixer
Tim Weidner
Steve MacMillan
Music Programming
James Banbury
Music Pro-tools Operators
Sara Lind
Robert Lind
Brian Golding
Damian Legassick
Eric White
Greg Morgensteen
Strings Recordist
Robert Fernandez
"Fly"; "I Will Survive"; "Wherever You Go" - Alex Band and Aaron Kamin; "That's Me"; "Lies" - Adoree; "The Power" - Snap; "Didn't We Love" - Tamara Walker; "Keep Your Hands to Yourself" - Georgia Satellites; "Boom Boom Boom"; "Pour Some Sugar on Me" - Def Leppard; "Devil Went Down to Georgia" - Charlie Daniels Band; "Unbelievable" - EMF; "It Takes Two" - Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock; "Out of My Head"; "Never Let You Go"; "Beer: 30"; "Follow Me" - Uncle Kracker; "Need You Tonight" - INXS; "Love Is Alive"- Anastacia; "One Way Or Another" - Blondie; "Battle Flag (Lo-Fidelity Allstars remix)" - Pigeonhed; "Tony Adams"; "Cowboy" - Kid Rock; "Rock This Town" - Stray Cats; "Cailin" - Unwritten Law; "Rebel Yell" - Billy Idol; "All She Wants to Do Is Dance"; "Love Machine"; "Can't Help Falling in Love" - Elvis Presley; "We Can Get There (Almighty Radio Edit)"; "Please Remember", "The Right Kind of Wrong", "But I Do Love You", "Can't Fight the Moonlight" - LeAnn Rimes
Travis Payne
Lavelle Smith Jr
Sound Mixers
Petur Hliddal
Bob Eber
Re-recording Sound Mixers
Kevin O'Connell
Greg P. Russell
Dan Sharp
Tom Burns
Supervising Dialogue Editor
Teri E. Dorman
Dialogue Editors
Karen Spangenberg
Ulrika Akander
Supervising Sound Effects Editor
Randle Akerson
Sound Effects Editors
Adam Kopald
Suhail Kafity
David F. Van Slyke
Rick Canelli
Thomas O'Connell
Supervising Editor:
Juno J. Ellis
Nick Korda
Stephen Janisz
Denise Horta
Alicia Irwin
Dawn Fintor
Dave Betancourt
Supervising Editor:
Victoria Martin
Matthew Harrison
James Likowski
Fred Burke
Bartending Consultant
Jennifer Curran
Liliana Lovell
Elizabeth Gilbert
Vanessa Bendetti
Stunt Co-ordinators
New York:
Danny Aiello III
Los Angeles:
Buddy Joe Hooker
Animal Handling
Critters of the Cinema
Piper Perabo
Violet Sanford
Adam Garcia
Kevin O'Donnell
John Goodman
Maria Bello
Izabella Miko
Tyra Banks
Bridget Moynahan
Melanie Lynskey
Del Pentecost
Michael Weston
LeAnn Rimes
Jeremy Rowley
William Morris receptionist
Ellen Cleghorne
music publishing receptionist
John Fugelsang
Richie the booker
Bud Cort
Grant Tuskerud
Eddie Anisko
Jason Jacobs
Patrick Yonally
Finale Club lead-in band members
Robert Ahlers
Orlando Sims
Barry Michael Duff
William Ritter III
Chanda Bailey
Finale Club back-up musicians
Freeze Luv
Fiji Mermaid Club bouncer
Alex Band
Miles Mosley
Aaron Kamin
Vic Vanacore
Fiji Mermaid Club band members
Greg Pitts
Fiji Mermaid waiter
Whitney Dylan
Fiji Mermaid worker
Marvin Krueger
Victor Argo
Peter Appel
John Mondin
pizza customers
Frank Medrano
Elizabeth Beckwith
management office receptionist
Diane Hudock
open mic woman
Tara McLean
open mic singer
Eric Ritter
Thomas R. Martin
Arlene's grocery audience members
Ken Campbell
Jorgen De Mey
Coyote Ugly customer
Jimmy Shubert
Greg Ginther
Coyote Ugly drunks
Jeff Michalski
fire marshall
Kaitlin Olsen
Jennifer Jean
Susan Yeagley
Jill Gettelson
bidding customers
Jack McGee
Paul Davis-Miller
Sam Ash salesman
Johnny Zander
Roy the busboy
Wali Collins
Scott Russo
Rob Brewer
Steve Morris
Wade Youman
Patrick Kim
Elbow Room band members
Natasha Reulet
Sarah Morris
Jennifer Day
Nava Plotsky
Alicia Sorell
Jennifer Manalo
girls at the surprise party
Nicole Ghastin
Lyndsay Morgan
Jonathan Klein
Alexandra Balahoutis
Johnny Knoxville
Chris Wylde
college guys
Mandy Amano
Carla Alaponte
Stephanie Hodge
Allison Ford
Kathy Nowrey
dancing girls in bar
Michael Bay
Chip Chinery
Nick Vallelonga
Joseph Patrick Kelly
Greg Collins
Coyote Ugly bar patrons
Stephen Snedden
customer, fancy drinks
Chris Soldevilla
man ordering shots
Joseph Bucaro III
James T. Sale
Finale Club drunks
Heather Shannon Ryan
sorority girl
Biljana Filipovic
bar fight girlfriend
Tara Wilson
Violet dance double
Nancy Anderson
Cammie dance double
Angela Stover
Rachel dance double
Jessica Vallot
Zoe dance double
Laura Grady Peterson
Violet body double
Thekla Roth
Cammie leg double
Danielle Burgio
Rachel fire leg double
Buena Vista International (UK)
9,070 feet
100 minutes 47 seconds
Dolby Digital/DTS/SDDS
In Colour
Prints by
2.35:1 [Super 35]
Last Updated: 20 Dec 2011