Against her father's wishes, Violet leaves her comfortable life in New Jersey to follow her songwriting dream in the Big Apple. However, she's quickly forced to take a job in a bar - a bar where the waitresses are expected to do much more than pull a swift pint.
Hands up anyone who, while greedily gobbling up the endless explosions of The Rock and Armageddon, secretly yearned for Jerry Bruckheimer to forsake mindless violence (and fun), return to his roots and make a Flashdance for the millennium? Anyone? Anyone?
Okay, how about an easier question: what is Coyote Ugly? Well, it's a real-life raucous bar in New York City for a start. It would like to be a feminist fable (yeah, right). Beyond that, the expression refers to those mornings-after-the-night-before when you find yourself coiled around a stranger so hideous you would, like a coyote caught in a trap, prefer to chew your arm off rather than spend another second spooning. And with this charming metaphor in mind, Coyote Ugly could become a new term in the critical lexicon, because after half an hour of this film, gnawing flesh begins to look like a pretty good option.
If only they had stayed in the bar. While the antics of the Coyote Ugly barmaids - They dance! They strip! They're exploited! - form an admittedly attractive backdrop, the table-dancing soon gives way to a 'plot' which follows drippy ingenue Violet as she pursues a drippy songwriting dream and an equally drippy romance with drippy male lead, Adam Garcia. Yuck.
To illustrate just how shallow the dramatic ambition on display is, we need refer to but one scene: a bar brawl in which our stagestruck heroine persuades sailors (sailors!) to down stools (stools!) by singing karaoke. In that moment, we are asked to believe, a star is born. If you swallow that, you'll swallow anything - including one of the cocktails mixed by the patently unprofessional Coyote Ugly staff.
There's really nothing wrong with guilty pleasures, but the odd grouchy moment from John Goodman aside, there is nothing here to distract anyone save the most undemanding (or most horny) of 14 year-olds.