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Fleshdance

Five babes = one varmint in 'Coyote Ugly'

Fleshdance

In this story:

'Coyotes' in heels

Two themes

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(CNN) -- The latest extravaganza from producer Jerry Bruckheimer is "Coyote Ugly." This is the same man who brought us "Flashdance" in 1983, and he's obviously trying to create another variation on the same theme -- attractive young people attempting to dance their way to inner fulfillment.

Starring five stunning young women, this film is far from ugly. But it does howl, and big time. "Coyote Ugly" is contrived and predictable, with a plot is as thin as the paper used to print the 1993 GQ magazine article which inspired this film.

Actress Piper Perabo ("The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle," 2000) a lovely thing from New Jersey who's just getting her start in showbiz in New York City, is the star. She plays Violet Sanford, a lovely thing from New Jersey who's just getting her start in -- well, you get it.

This is not meant as a slam at Ms. Perabo; she handles herself quite well and even has genuine star appeal. But let's face it: She was not cast far from type this time.

'Coyotes' in heels

Violet is an aspiring songwriter and one of thousands of starry-eyed young people flooding the bridges and tunnels leading into New York. She stumbles into a job at a joint called Coyote Ugly where the main attraction is the beautiful women bartenders. Called "coyotes," they dish out booze and attitude in equal amounts. The male customers, naturally, lap it up. The bar's owner Lil (Maria Bello) is savvy, tough, and rules her "coyotes" with an iron fist. Her pack of lovelies includes Cammie (Izabella Miko), Zoe (Tyra Banks), and Rachel (Bridget Moynahan).

Australia's latest hunk du jour,, Adam Garcia, plays Kevin, a young man who falls head-over-heels in love with Violet. Between shots of tequila and montages featuring wild music and gyrating bodies, he tries to help Violet overcome her stage fright -- and thereby get her music heard.

Garcia, who first came to the public's attention playing Tony Manero in a London production of "Saturday Night Fever," doesn't have much to do in "Coyote Ugly," save for taking off his shirt whenever possible while running after Violet. It will be wonderful to see what Garcia and Perabo can do when given a decent script.

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Two themes

First-time feature film director David McNally is best known for his Budweiser beer commercials, and he remains true to form in "Ugly." This time, though, the commercial is a whole lot longer than the others.

In fairness to McNally, first-time screen-writer Gina Wendkos give him little with which to work. She's taken two disparate themes -- a magazine story about women flaunting post-feminist attitudes, and a coming-of-age love story -- and tried to meld them. The result is underwelming.

Bruckheimer's films are known for their pounding music -- remember "Top Gun" (1986)? -- and "Coyote Ugly" continues the tradition. It rocks. Blondie's "One Way or Another," Don Henley's "All She Wants to Do Is Dance," and four songs performed by LeAnn Rimes (who also appears in the movie as herself), are just some of the sounds in the sound track. Beautiful women, lots of flash, lots of flesh, great music -- no story. It's up to you.

"Coyote Ugly" opens nationwide on Friday August 4 and is rated "PG-13" with a running time of 1 hour, 50 minutes.



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Touchstone Pictures' "Coyote Ugly"


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