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Film / Coyote Ugly

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For some, this poster is as good as it gets...

Jerry Bruckheimer: "So, let me get this straight: This script is about a strip club where the four employees don't take off their clothes. And they're too busy dancing —completely dressed— on top of the bar to serve anyone a drink. Yet the bar is so popular that there's a giant line to get in. I sent the script to the people who wrote Gilligan's Island and they sent it back with a note that said 'This is preposterous!'"
Seanbaby, hanging a lampshade on the film as only he can.

Coyote Ugly is a 2000 comedy-drama film produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by David McNally about songwriter Violet Sanford (Piper Perabo), who moves to New York City to try to make it big with her music. She ends up getting a job at the eponymous woman-run bar, which prominently features scantily-clad bar-dancers teasing the male patrons. She eventually comes out of her shell with the help of her Australian boyfriend (Adam Garcia) and the girls at Coyote Ugly.

Best remembered for its Cult Soundtrack (which featured the crossover LeAnn Rimes hit "Can't Fight the Moonlight") and its bait-and-switch trailer (which led viewers to believe the movie would be 90 minutes of T&A and sexy adventures; the actual movie is a Chick Flick through and through).

This film includes examples of:

  • Advertised Extra: Zoe, played by Tyra Banks, appears prominently on the poster even though she only appears in two scenes, with a blink-and-you'll-miss-it appearance in the final scene.
  • Ambiguously Bi: After mistakenly thinking that Violet was hitting on her, Cammy explains that she isn't a lesbian, saying that she 'played in the minors, but never went pro', indicating some past history with women that she did not commit to.
  • Artistic License – Music: Violet arrives nearly late for a performance at a club and appears to just go on stage without warming up her voice or doing any kind of sound check (which she maybe might have done offscreen before the performance).
  • As Herself: LeAnn Rimes, who appears in the end.
  • Award-Bait Song: "Can't Fight the Moonlight" performed by LeAnn Rimes and also written by no stranger to this, Diane Warren. Interestingly enough, the song was a last minute replacement for "Right Kind of Wrong", because test audiences didn't find it uplifting enough.
  • Bachelor Auction: First, Violet auctions off her boyfriend to repay a fine she'd caused; then, at the movie's end, she uses another Bachelor Auction as an excuse for her father to hook up with a cute redhead in whom he's interested and who's there with him, but whom he's too anxious about asking out.
  • Bar Brawl: On a couple of occasions, during one of which the jukebox is broken at the climax.
  • Bare Midriffs Are Feminine: The Coyotes all wear tops that show off the midriff as part of the act. Part of Violet's 'makeover' for her first night is Lil making sure her midriff is exposed too.
  • Beer Goggles: Discussed when Lil explains the meaning of the bar's name to a patron.
  • Big Rotten Apple: Violet and Glory are Squicked out as soon as they arrive in New York by all the grime and fish guts everywhere, and Violet's apartment is robbed early on in the film.
  • Bitch Alert: Rachel happily is introduced as "the New York bitch", and Cammie insists she doesn't mind "because she really is a bitch". Sure enough, her Establishing Character Moment is randomly cutting a man's ponytail off.
  • Brooklyn Rage: Rachel is the only actual New Yorker of the Coyotes, and is the hot-tempered, always getting into fights type. Lil happily says she gave her a raise after she punched a guy trying to grope her. She also backfists a guy catcalling Violet's performance in the climax.
  • Call-Back: Midway through the movie, Zoe arrives at the bar as a customer, but is convinced to get up and dance. In the ending, Violet is now in this position as a successful songwriter, and gets up to dance with LeAnn Rimes.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The pizzeria owner at the start notes that he feels the wall filled with 20 years of girl's signatures who quit and left to try and make it in New York is 'jinxed' as none of them appear to have. Late in the film, Bill 'buys' Violet's signature off the wall and Violet then succeeds.
  • Cold Cash: Violet's friend tosses a wad of cash in her freezer 'in case of an emergency' (apparently not realizing that that's one of the first places burglars search, as Violet later learns the hard way).
  • Country Mouse:
    • Violet, even though she's from an urban area; just much smaller compared to New York.
    • Lil admits that she was this when she first moved to the city too.
  • Darkest Hour: In a literal few minutes, Kevin sees a patron dancing with Violet and brawls him, which leads to them breaking up. Lil then fires Violet on the spot because of her 'no boyfriends in the bar' rule. Soon after in the film, Bill is hospitalized in a car accident. After all this, Violet almost gives up and moves back to New Jersey.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Several characters but especially Lil, the bar owner.
  • Discreet Drink Disposal: Cammy teaches Violet a trick to help her cope with the shots that customers keep treating her to: "chase it with a beer," which is to say spitting the alcohol back out into a beer bottle while pretending to take a swig. Keeps everyone happy, as long as nobody loses track of their spit bottle.
  • Disneyfication: Elizabeth Gilbert and the real Lil Lovell describe the film as a very sugar coated version of their time in Coyote Ugly. Lil recalls once obliging a guy who offered $1000 to do a shot out of her underwear, someone crashing a motorcycle through the wall, and an A-list actor getting so drunk he defecated in the bathroom (missing the toilet).
  • The Ditz: Cammy thinks a joking "I love you" from Violet means she's being flirted with.
  • Failed Audition Plot: Violet mails her demos to various record labels after moving to New York to pursue a career in the music business, only to have them all returned with no sign of interest. Working at the Coyote Ugly helps to give her the courage she needs to continue trying.
  • Failure Montage: Violet trying to get apathetic or rude industry executives to take her demo tapes. At the end of it, she learns that the only way she'll get her songs out is to perform them live.
  • Fanservice with a Smile: The bar seems to run on this. It's women-only staff (except for the bouncers), and they have to wear tight leather pants, crop tops and other sexy clothes. The real Lil Lovell describes the reasoning as persuasion to make the male customers spend as much as possible.
  • Faux Yay: The coyotes play up everything, including how physically intimate they are with one another, for example, Cammy and Violet sliding against one another and embracing during a bar performance of "All She Wants To Do Is Dance".
  • Flair Bartending: Played straight with the veteran barkeeps who have been doing the job for a while. It's averted for comedy with Violet/Jersey, whose attempts fail when she tries, but she does get better during a Good-Times Montage. In the ending, when there's a new girl at Coyote Ugly, she's seen failing similarly to Violet.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: While Lil does insist she's only Violet's boss, she does seek her out to see how her father is, and closes the bar early to support her in her singing.
  • Good Bad Girl: Cammie is presented as a Shameless Fanservice Girl but she's the nicest of the coyotes.
  • Hollywood Old: Maria Bello was only 31 but at the time was deemed too old to dance on the bar with the others, so Lil is never seen dancing.
  • Hometown Nickname: Violet is nicknamed 'Jersey', after her home state, when she begins working at the bar.
  • I Have No Daughter!: After Bill's co-workers start putting up newspaper photos of Violet in their booths, he goes to the bar to see what's really going on and finds his little girl drenched in water writhing on the bar. He stops taking her calls for a while and, at Gloria's wedding, tells her that he's ashamed of her. It takes a call from an emergency room for them to reconcile.
  • In the Blood: Violet saw her stage-fright as inherited from her Mother, also a musician. It turned out that she actually was great on-stage and quit her career for the sake of Violet and Bill.
  • Informed Attribute: Lil jokes that Cammy can only call herself The Tease "if you stop sleeping around".
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Rachel lives up to her nickname "The New York Bitch", but she has a couple of Pet the Dog moments towards Violet.
  • Joisey: Melanie Lynskey puts on a very thick New Jersey accent for her role as Violet's less ladylike friend Gloria. Violet doesn't have a strong accent, but her actress ironically is actually from New Jersey.
  • Male Gaze: Might as well have been called "Male Gaze: The Movie". But there's some of this in-universe too, as the aim of the girls is to get the men to pay to see them do whatever.
  • Manchild: Bill has traits. Violet regulates his diet and travels back to New Jersey once a week to do his laundry.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Guy: Kevin fits a lot of these qualities as an upbeat, comic-collecting Australian with a Mysterious Past including inexplicable exotic dancing skillsnote  whose main job in the story is to help Violet overcome her stage fright. She however calls him out on deliberately withholding his past so he doesn't have to connect with anyone.
  • Married to the Job: Lil. She admits it to Violet in one scene, telling her, "I'm married to that bar."
  • Meaningful Echo: During Violet's initial job interview with Lil, Lil jokingly asks about Violet's home town: "Lemme guess: Piedmont, North Dakota?" As she later reveals to Violet before swearing her to secrecy on penalty of death, Piedmont is actually Lil's home town.
  • Meaningful Name: Violet has a double example.
    • The violet is the state flower of New Jersey, her state of origin.
    • She's also a Shrinking Violet at the beginning of the movie.
  • Missing Mom: Violet's mother died five years prior to the start of the movie
  • Mr. Fanservice: In addition to Kevin's strip scene, we see him on the bed after his love scene with Violet with his crotch only just out of shot.
  • Ms. Fanservice: It's a movie about a good-looking woman along with her equally good-looking colleagues/friends.
  • Mundane Solution: Violet's stage fright magically disappears even knowing people are watching her when all the lights in the room are turned off. To be fair, she had already been singing in front of people for a while, singing along to the jukebox.
  • Naïve Newcomer: Violet, when she moves to New York at first. Lil eventually confesses that she was one once as well.
  • Nice Mean And In Between: Rachel is the "New York Bitch", who's aggressive and abrasive even to her friends. Cammy is the Nice Girl who helps Violet pick out her wardrobe and train her on the spot. Lil is something of a Bad Boss who cares mainly about her bar over its employees, but she does show kindness towards Violet near the end.
  • Performance Anxiety: The main plot arc for Violet Sanford, who is a talented singer in private but struggles overcoming her nervousness in front of a crowd.
  • Pet the Dog: Rachel in the ending is taking shots at a new girl in Coyote Ugly, similar to how she did Violet when she started. But when no one is looking, she looks over at Violet with a kind look on her face.
  • The Place: The setting of the story is almost exclusively in the city's very popular bar, Coyote Ugly.
  • Plucky Girl: Violet saves her own job at the bar twice and rescues Rachel and Cammie from being caught in a bar fight with acts of ingenuity and/or bravery.
  • Really Gets Around: Cammie, who is the most shameless of the coyotes, and Lil jokes about her sleeping around.
  • Real-Place Background: Coyote Ugly is an actual chain of bars. How closely the movie represents the actual atmosphere is left to the reader.
  • Rip Tailoring: Violet's first shift at the bar begins with Lil, the owner, ripping off her sleeves and the bottom two inches of her shirt, leaving her in something much more revealing and appropriate to the bar.
  • Sassy Black Woman: "I am dying to make your dreams come true." Averted with Zoe, played by Tyra Banks, who's actually leaving Coyote Ugly to go to law school.
  • Sensual Slavs: Cammie's nickname is 'The Russian Tease' and she assures them that she really is a tease.
  • Token Wholesome: Lil presents Violet as this, compared to the more outgoing girls at the bar, nicknaming her 'The Jersey Nun'; guessing that men will be turned on by her apparent innocence.
  • The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: Violet's father is played by overweight John Goodman.
  • Work Hard, Play Hard: Lil enforces her rules for the bar with an iron fist, and fires girls on the spot for breaking them. On the other hand, she was so impressed with Violet's idea to auction off Kevin that she herself placed a bid even though Violet had to do it because she put Lil out of pocket (although she likely also realised the potential of upping the bids). The other Coyotes too, since dancing and exuberance is part of the job.
  • You Can Leave Your Hat On: Both the male and female version. During the Bachelor Auction, Kevin removes his shirt and partially removes his pants. Later, Violet performs a striptease in the privacy of her bedroom to explain what stage fright feels like for her.