Should I Watch..? 'Coyote Ugly'

Updated on February 13, 2019
Benjamin Cox profile image

Benjamin is a former volunteer DJ at his local hospital radio station. He has been reviewing films online for over fifteen years.


What's the big deal?

Coyote Ugly is a musical romantic drama film released in 2000 and is largely set in a New Jersey bar of the same name. Directed by David McNally (his debut feature film), the film revolves around wannabe singer-songwriter Violet who pursues her dreams of stardom whilst working at the aforementioned bar and falling for music industry scout Kevin. It was initially based on an article in GQ about the real-life Coyote Ugly Saloon in New York City. The film stars Piper Perabo, Adam Garcia, Maria Bello, Tyra Banks and John Goodman. Despite a mostly negative reception, the film earned just shy of $114 million worldwide while the film's soundtrack, featuring Leann Rimes, also proved wildly popular.


2 stars for Coyote Ugly

What's it about?

Violet Sanford decides to leave her home in South Amboy, New Jersey in order to pursue her dreams of making it in New York as a songwriter. Despite her father's reluctance to see her go, she moves into a rundown apartment and unsuccessfully attempts to plug her demo tape. With her funds rapidly running low, she notices three women spending their hard-earned tips and soon discovers that they all work at a trendy bar nearby, Coyote Ugly.

After she auditions at the bar for a job, Violet soon finds that life at Coyote Ugly is noisy, out-of-control and intimidating. The women frequently pour shots straight down the necks of patrons, shower them with liquor before dancing on top of the bar itself and whipping the customers into a frenzy. Can Violet learn to come out of her shell enough to overcome her stage fright and can she trust the record scout Kevin to help her achieve her goals?


Main Cast

Piper Perabo
Violet Sanford
Adam Garcia
Kevin O'Donnell
Maria Bello
Lil Lovell
John Goodman
William "Bill" Sanford
Tyra Banks
Bridget Moynahan
Izabella Miko

Technical Info

David McNally
Gina Wendkos
Running Time
100 minutes
Release Date (UK)
20th October, 2000
Drama, Music, Romance
Piper Perabo, star of "Coyote Ugly", is one of a number of attractive women in the film's cast
Piper Perabo, star of "Coyote Ugly", is one of a number of attractive women in the film's cast | Source

What's to like?

I'll readily admit to not being part of this film's target audience so thinking of things I liked is hard. But I have to credit Coyote Ugly for some things - first of which has to be the performance of Perabo. While the script might be cornier than a veggie burger, her characterisation is believable and she gives the role her everything. She has an innocence in her face that suits the character perfectly, even if her comic timing might need a little work. Perhaps she could have learnt a thing or two from Goodman whose genuine performance as her overprotective father is sadly not seen on screen often enough for my tastes. The soundtrack is also first-class with some classic tracks from Leann Rimes, INXS, The Charlie Daniels Band, Blondie, Def Leppard, Sugar Ray and many more besides.

The other thing to note is that it's seems unusual to have a film with such a female-heavy cast leading proceedings. Yes, it might well be in a chick-flick but Coyote Ugly proves that such ventures aren't the risky undertakings they might have once been. Hollywood's reluctance to have female leads is legendary and while this might not be as funny as something like Bridesmaids, it's still good to see some people prepared to take a risk.

Fun Facts

  • The film's soundtrack remained on the Billboard Top 40 chart for over a year. It has since sold over 3 million copies.
  • Jessica Simpson was in the running for the lead for some time but dropped out when film-makers refused to drop the sex scene. In the end, most of that scene ended up being cut anyway.
  • As well as singer Leann Rimes making a cameo playing herself, there are also a couple of other famous faces on screen as well. Director Michael Bay appears as a photographer while future Jackass star Johnny Knoxville pops up as one of the bar's many patrons.

What's not to like?

From my point of view, so very much. The film is populated almost entirely by young, good-looking people and frankly, they don't provide much support for Perabo. Garcia is the worst, coming across as a vacuous pretty-boy with not much going on between both ears. The plot is as old as the hills and at no point do you ever really engage with the film unless you've been goaded into poking fun at it. For example, take the scene where Kevin is auctioned off against his will. Before that point, the bar had been filled with drunken frat boys. But once the auction begins, the place is filled with horny women all eager for a piece of Garcia - where did they come from all of a sudden?

The film substitutes personality for volume, turning the soundtrack up to eleven in the hope that you'll notice that not much is actually going on. Violet and Kevin's romance feels as contrived as the rest of the picture and there simply isn't anything else driving the film - no subplots, no bitchy in-fighting that I imagine would actually be rampant in a place such as that. There is nothing about Coyote Ugly that surprises you with the possible exception of whooshing sound effects whenever anyone juggles the bottles behind the bar like alcoholic ninjas. Tom Cruise never needed such trickery in Cocktail but that is, in no way, a recommendation.

Country star Leann Rimes not only performs the film's show-stopper but also cameos
Country star Leann Rimes not only performs the film's show-stopper but also cameos | Source

Should I watch it?

As wish fulfilment goes, Coyote Ugly does an OK job of providing you access to a loud party that you weren't invited to - and possibly might not even want to go to. But the movie never kicks into second gear and offers little in the way of story, surprise or entertainment. It basically offers up a bunch of girls having a family-friendly wet t-shirt competition and if that's all you want then that's all you're gonna get. Just don't sit next to me on the bus, OK?

Great For: Leann Rimes' career, sales of the soundtrack, teenage girls, teenage boys with a pause button

Not So Great For: grown men, anyone who has actually worked in a bar, anyone who can't stand Leann Rimes

What else should I watch?

As obvious as it appears, the natural competition to Coyote Ugly is the Tom Cruise outing Cocktail where he plays another young hotshot finding his feet serving New York's loudest drunks. It might well be better suited to male viewers but Cocktail is less likeable with a dreadful screenplay, little chemistry between Cruise and his various conquests and even the soundtrack isn't as good. But in truth, neither film bears much relation to real-life - having worked behind a number of bars for a good few years, I can confirm that there is nothing worse when you're drunk than pouring drinks for other people.

There are several films that have a much better understanding of the struggles of being a musician, though few can touch the rowdy atmosphere of Coyote Ugly. The Eminem-inspired 8 Mile is a blistering look at the struggles of a white rap artist trying to make it in a predominantly black art-form. Frank is a recent indie drama loosely based on the comic creation Frank Sidebottom, a struggling musician whose identity is concealed under an enormous papier-mâché head. And if you're still looking for something with a loud soundtrack, you could do worse than CBGB, a dramatized look at the legendary punk venue in the late Seventies. The film's not that great but the soundtrack is to die for.

© 2016 Benjamin Cox

Soap Box

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)