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Blu-ray Review: Coyote Ugly

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Launching the career of two of its stars, Coyote Ugly is a movie with an odd identity crisis. It’s not sure who it’s appealing to, and the barely noticeable story pushing this one forward is hard to sit through. It’s enjoyable in short bursts, but there’s so much useless material that leads nowhere, it’s hard not to feel short-changed.

Piper Perabo is likable and spunky as a struggling artist trying to find her way into the music industry. She moves to New York, and ends up taking a job at a bar. The latter is, of course, Coyote Ugly, a cramped, consistently active club where the bartenders have rights to do as they please.

Obviously hinging on its sex factor, the female cast is undeniably attractive. Their provocative dancing on top of the bar, complete with fire and wet shirts, is obviously tailored towards half of the world’s population. The other half is given a generic romance and struggling artist storyline that’s been done countless times before.

Repetition is a huge issue here. Seeing the girls dance on the bar once was plenty, and yet these scenes continue to repeat over and over without any change. They’re usually pointless scenes as well, purely made for the trailer. Aside from Perabo’s character finding a voice for herself, the constant onslaught of familiar pop music and dancing is dull.

Moments that would make any film fan groan are present in droves. Shots of Perabo on a rooftop singing by candlelight are unbelievably forced. John Goodman plays her father, and is forced to deliver some unbearable lines. This unrated cut makes some hilariously awful editing come through, including a body double for an added nude scene that doesn’t even match skin tone or hair color.

Maybe as some artsy character study about a young girl overcoming her fears and growing as the movie progresses, this would have worked as storytelling. However, with Jerry Bruckheimer, this is a brain dead, supposed comedy without focus. Once past the sex appeal, this one has nothing left.

On Blu-ray, the film carries some merit. Its biggest hurdle is noise and grain. It suffers whenever there’s a decent sized area of solid color on screen and the transfer goes haywire. There’s some annoying specks on the print too, and while small, there’s little reason for them to appear on a film from 2000. Aside from that, the colors are bright and pure. Black levels remain consistent and strong. The transfer is sharp, boasting a fair, if somewhat unspectacular amount of detail.

Loaded with bass, the soundtrack that carries much of the film provides plenty of low level audio. Crowded clubs do a fantastic job of creating atmosphere. Cheers from the rowdy crowd spill into the rear speakers perfectly. Subtle dialogue is usually backed by some enveloping audio, whether of the city or the shots where the bar is subdued. For a movie without an explosion, this one sounds great.

Two commentaries are listed here, though the one on the extended version of the film simply has separate added content. It’s not all new material. The female cast has fun here discussing their roles. Eight minutes of deleted scenes are left out for a reason. Search for the Stars is split into three parts, running about 10 minutes long. This featurette discusses the careers which were either started or boosted by the film.

Inside the Songs is a feature on Diane Warren, who wrote most of the music featured in the film, and LeAnn Rimes, who provided the vocals (dubbed over Perabo’s rather obviously at certain points). Coyote 101 is a short, seven-minute behind the scenes feature on the bar set and the dance moves. Action Overload is a one-minute compilation on the best of the bar shots, and a music video rounds off the disc.

Jessica Simpson was originally set to play the lead role. However, she refused based on the sex scene which was cut down to maintain a PG-13 rating anyway. On top of that, the unrated version uses a stand-in.

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About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years and is the reviews editor for Pulp365.com. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can read Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki.