The Good

Ivan Thompson is a different breed of male and it was great getting to know him here.

The Bad

This documentary might have played a little better if Ivan had matched up a lot more people.

Cowboy del Amor is an interesting tale that predominantly focuses on Ivan Thompson. Calling himself the "Cowboy Cupid," Thompson spends his days finding Mexican wives for American men who want a different kind of woman. Ivan charges these men $3000 and that gets them a bus ride (with Ivan) to Mexico, where he diligently tries to set these strangers up. Ivan coaches his clients along, giving the men advice about what to say or what not to say, and he is helped in his pursuits by a Latina who speaks better Spanish than he does.

Ultimately, what filmmaker Michele Ohayon ends up capturing is a truly interesting character in Ivan, as well as a look at how certain members of the caucasian culture look at females in the Mexican one. To say that Ivan, or his clients, want woman who will wait on them hand and foot is both true and untrue. Ivan might seem pigheaded in some ways, but he is by no means a racist and neither are his clients. Actually, the subjects in Cowboy del Amor seem like people who have taken a situation and are working it out the best way they know how. Whether you agree with it or not is precisely the point of the film.

Features

Ivanisms, Dumb Mail and A Story About Revenge

I decided to group all of these together mainly because they are all Ivan-centric. Whether he is spouting off his phrases, reading letters from people who don't like what he does for a living, or telling us about revenge, at no point does this stop being the Ivan Thompson show. If you liked this movie and more to the point, if you like Ivan Thompson, than you certainly need to get these extra bits of this interesting and engaging man. If you didn't like the movie (or Ivan), than I would suggest steering clear of these sections.

Commentary Track

This commentary track features the film's director, cinematographer Theo Van De Sande, the film's composer Joseph Julian Gonzalez and Mr. Thompson himself. Right away, I felt that the only people on this track should have been Thompson and the director. Gonzalez and De Sande have interesting things to say, but I feel this track would have been better served if it was just the director and Ivan sitting back and looking over the film they created. They talk about the people in the documentary, the shooting conditions, and the kind of work that the Cowboy Cupid does. Always quick with something to say, Ivan Thompson really knows how to put a period or an exclamation point on the end of any sentence.

Video

Widescreen Version. Presented to preserve the aspect ratio of it's original theatrical exhibition. Enhanced for widescreen TVs. Shot on video, I am willing to bet that this movie played a lot better on my TV than when it screened in movie theaters. Simply put, this film, compressed down on this disc looked very crisp on my small TV. I would think the bigger these images played, the more pixilated they would probably end up looking. All in all, I found that this film looked good, I just don't know that it would play well on a home theater system.

Audio

English/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1. Subtitled in English and Spanish. The audio on this film was really good. When we consider all the different places that cinematographer Theo Van De Sande had to put his camera, and that fact that they were dealing with people who were nervous and didn't speak English (subtitles are employed in this film from time to time), I was highly impressed with how solid the sound was on this disc overall.

Package

Ivan, wearing sunglasses, is featured on this front cover with a billboard for his services, and a map of Mexico behind him. The lower portion of this cover features some other pictures from the movie, and the main color employed is that of a dark, mustard yellow. All the back cover features is a dimly lit shot of Ivan eating in a restaurant, a description of this film, a Special Features listing, critics quotes, a cast list and system specs.

Final Word

Ivan is honestly the most interesting character in this movie and that is probably why he is the star. Sure, seeing his business, the way he interacts, and the types of clients he has to deal with is interesting, but none of that would be so if it wasn't Ivan doing the dealing. This is a guy who can't censor himself, doesn't want to censor himself, and in short, is the ultimate pragmatist. Interestingly, he doesn't change at all when Ohayon's camera focuses on Ivan's life and his failed marriage to a Mexican woman. What we see is a someone who cares for her children (she had them from a previous marriage), as well as someone who, even though he can set people up, has too many ideas in his own head to probably see anyone else's.

What I enjoyed about this film is that Michele Ohayon has not done a smear job on her subject. She isn't out to make Ivan Thompson, or the people who use his services, look bad. Cowboy del Amor plays like a slow moving tale that almost mirrors the cycle that a real time relationship would have.

Cowboy del Amor was released March 12, 2005.