Coyote Ugly [2000]

As a producer, Jerry Bruckheimer makes movies for guys, mostly action films like Top Gun and Gone in 60 Seconds. The ones he makes that feature women, such as Flashdance and now Coyote Ugly, broaden their appeal with a fondness for "strong women." For Bruckheimer, that means self-determined, attractive women who don't need men to get what they want. Is there anything sexier than that? In Coyote Ugly, the charming young waif Piper Perabo stars as Violet, a New Jersey waitress who moves to New York to make it big as a songwriter. She has absolutely no idea how the music business works, relying instead on her faith in her own abilities. In order to make ends meet, she gets a job in a bar called Coyote Ugly, where the bartenders are scantily clad women who dance on the bar and order around their mostly male clientele. Really, they are strippers who don't have to take off their clothes. In fact, the owner (Maria Bello) orders them to enact the first rule of strip clubs: "Appear available but never be available." Bruckheimer is smart enough to focus on the naive girl instead of the seamier side of the story, following her as she realizes her dream and picks up a disposable but nice man along the way. Further "empowering" the female figures in the film, Zoe (Tyra Banks), the bartender whom Violet is replacing, leaves in order to go to law school. See? They're as smart as they are sexy! Then there's John Goodman, who turns in an absolutely charming performance as Violet's concerned father. This is a sweet and inoffensive film as long as you don't think too much about it. --Andy Spletzer

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