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K.A.W. Archives Part 2
Coyote Ugly

Last Week: Coyote Ugly:

I know. The collective eyebrows of the Kexkateers may permanently be stuck in the raised position this week. I really did go out and rent this movie. There was nothing to it. I boldly walked right up to that video counter, looked the friendly clerk in the eye, and said in an even and unquavering voice, This young lady would like to rent a movie. Yes, the K.A.W. reviews have become a real team effort.

We can put aside those seriously, badly, completely and pathetically whipped comments some of you may be considering at the moment too. Presenting this movie for review is perfectly legitimate. It did reasonably well at the box office last summer, and has taken off in rental as well, so there was absolutely no reason I shouldnt have given this movie due consideration. And never forget, Kex has shown the concern for his readers on many occasions to throw myself on cinematic handgrenades. You guys are starting to owe me big time.

John Goodman has become one of our favorite whipping boys around K.A.W. In a way, its sort of a bad thing, because I suspect that if Kex and John went out for coffee some afternoon, it would be a pleasant and amicable experience. He seems like a friendly sort of guy. Still, you have to wonder how this man keeps coming up with ways to torpedo his film career even worse. Playing second fiddle to Roseanne Barr on a bad TV series for several years would make it seem that pretty much anything he did subsequently would scale mighty peaks career wise, yet Goodman continually establishes new lows for himself.

Even allowing that I can, and should get it off my chest that I didnt consider this movie to be nearly as bad as I expected it to be, I think its high time some national law is passed that would forever bar director Jerry Bruckheimer from getting within six states of a movie studio. This is the man who gave us the marginally tolerable Armageddon, and followed that up with Gone In Sixty Seconds. Here we have a guy who is doing a real public service to the youth of America: He presents Generation Y with fascinating, glamorous career choices like bar dancing and stealing cars. Somehow, I dont think either one is going to contribute adequately to the Social Security fund in a couple of decades when Kex gets old, so maybe we really do need to consider preventing this man from doing further damage to future American economic trends.

Aside from Goodman, the person I pitied the most that appeared in this film was leading man Piper Perabo. First of all, either his agent should have advised him to change the name, or if he did so, should be taken out and shot for actually saddling a client with the stage name Piper. Hell, I used to have a bird named Piper. I sort of think I see the workings of a really inept agent behind this unfortunate, but seemingly promising young actor. His previous appearance was in Rocky and Bullwinkle so its not like we are talking about a guy who is building an impressive screen resume. In fact, I rather suspect that the next time I see him in the movies, hell probably be serving me a large tub of popcorn.

Coyote Ugly is the story of a young, aspiring song writer Violet Sanford (Maria Bello) who moves to New York City to pursue her dreams. Somehow, she has grown up in the only town in New Jersey where young people are dense enough to believe that one can sell songs simply by marching into a publishing house and handing over material. Violet is advised that the only way she will get her material known is to sing it herself in clubs, but that presents a tidy problem. She has some sort of deathly stage fright.

Violet lands a job as a sort of bartender/entertainer in a wild showgirl club called Coyote Ugly. As if anyone cant simply go out to any bar in America and watch drunk, testosterone poisoned young males acting like idiots, we get to spend a significant portion of this film as it is presented to us in light of an entertaining spectacle. Once again Bruckheimer does a great service to American well being by showing us the fun associated with getting boozed up and ogling showgirls in bars. The combination of testosterone and alcohol generally means that we are one weapon or motor vehicle away from a body count as it is, but Bruckheimer convienently avoids showing us the aftermath of the proceedings.

Working in the bar helps Violet overcome some of her shyness, and she is helped along by the prodding of leading man Piper. Still standing in her way is her conservative father (John Goodman), who has puzzling reservations about his innocent daughter making a spectacle of herself in front of hundreds of drunk men in a bar in New York City. What can this man be thinking? I mean, its not like she is doing something really dangerous, like taste testing European imported beef or purchasing medications for Robert Downey Jr. Fortunately for Violet, Goodmans character has a change of heart when he meets with an accident: He is hit by a car. Goodman comes out with comparatively minor injuries, while we suspect that the car was reduced to a pile of irrepairably battered junk. Lets face it: If the man gets any larger, he is going to have to forgo swimming in the ocean lest he returns to shore peppered with Japanese harpoons.

This is one of those gooey movies where Violet manages to overcome her stage fright, and makes a triumphant appearance in a songwriters festival. Her song is heard and purchased by a major pop performer, and all ends well and happily. Movies like this always end that way. Maybe someday, someone will make the consensus of experience movie about the thousands of prospective actors and songwriters to descend on New York City annually with dreams and ambition, only to end up toiling beneath the revered Golden Arches. I know, nobody wants to see movies like that, but it might just do America well if somebody had the guts to speak out on what the American experience typically is: a shattered dream, followed by a perfectly legitimate life of toil in a less lofty pursuit. And real happiness tends to lie in the people we share our lives with, not an unattainable dream of fame.