A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Coyote Ugly is a 2000 movie in which Piper Perabo plays a struggling songwriter in New York City who finds work as a bartender in a raucous dive bar. There's one sex scene between the male and female lead in which breasts are shown, and female buttocks are covered only by a thong. Violet does something of a striptease for her beau, ostensibly to make him nervous. There are a number of jokes about the girls' sexual availability but no evidence that they engage in casual sex. Occasional sex-themed insinuations and one-liners are heard. Infrequent profanity includes "d--k," "bitch," "hell," and "ass." Drinking, even drinking to excess, is handled lightheartedly, and drinking hard liquor is considered a sign of strength. Bar fights are shown, with punches and broken bottles. Gratuitous product placement occurs in some scenes: characters shown eating from clearly marked fast-food packages, and dialogue that directly mentions products.
What's the story?
COYOTE UGLY is owned by Lil (Mario Bello), who has a tough exterior but a heart of gold. She tells Violet (Piper Perabo) that the bar is successful because men have 2-year-olds in their pants, and she knows how to keep the 2-year-olds happy. The girls are supposed to appear available but not be available and make the customers crazy but not too crazy. Violet must, of course, conquer her stage fright and get a darling boyfriend with a dark secret (Adam Garcia). She has to try to make up with her adored father (John Goodman). He's disappointed in her and embarrassed about what she's doing. And Violet has to try to make it as a songwriter when no one wants to listen to the songs she composes on the roof of her picturesque but working-class apartment building.
Is it any good?
The people behind Flashdance have delivered another movie with about the same level of believability, but with a little less flash and a lot less dance. You won't see much dance on-screen. There are no full-fledged dance numbers, just snippets of glorious long legs stomping on the bar and glimpses of glorious upper bodies as the girls hose down the paying customers. And fair warning up front: The delectable Tyra Banks appears as a Coyote bartender very briefly before going off to finish law school(!).
Flashdance gave us, unforgettably, the steel welder who wanted to be a ballerina and made extra money doing elaborate postmodern erotic dances in a working-class bar in Pittsburgh. Coyote Ugly gives us a pizza waitress from New Jersey who wants to make it as a songwriter in the big city. She is too shy to sing her songs in public, so of course she gets a job that requires her to be an exhibitionist, in the working-class bar of the title, famous for its glorious bartenders and the way they display their glory. Think Cocktail starring the Spice Girls.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about drinking in movies. How was binge drinking glorified in this movie? Did it go too far in making binge drinking seem like it's without consequences, or was it simply trying to reflect the realities of what it's like inside a packed and raucous bar like Coyote Ugly?
Families could also talk about the demeaning way that the girls in the bar see men's view of women, the ways that women convey sexuality and availability, and the problems that can occur if you don't have huge bouncers on hand, as they do at the bar.
Some scenes featured gratuitous product placement. Does the use of clearly marked or directly referenced products pose a problem for you? Does it interfere with your enjoyment of the movie, or is it something you find easy to ignore?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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