Ivan Thompson is one of the funniest characters ever captured on film…and he’s a real person. As the self-proclaimed “Cowboy Cupid”, he’s an old-fashioned matchmaker for American men and Mexican women, using throwback techniques that went out of vogue around the time of dial-up internet access. In this documentary, his humorous actions and corn-fed, whimsical sayings are as entertaining as any of the actual matchmaking, although viewers will follow at least one of his pairings with great interest as well.
The film follows Thompson on a couple of his matchmaking missions to Mexico starting from the point of his initial rendezvous with his American clients. Thompson doesn’t work in volume, he takes the personal approach of meeting and escorting each client deep into Mexico one at a time, usually booking cheap bus routes and staying in the same hotel room with his client. Once in Mexico, he takes out a personal ad in a local newspaper and then sits in his hotel room and waits for response. That’s it. No internet marketing, no advance calls, just a simple ad and a lot of hope. Surprisingly, he gets decent feedback and eventually sets up a dance card for his client, carefully penciling in meeting times in their hotel lobby for the duration of their stay.
In the film, the women who respond to the ad are generally above average in both looks and career, while his clients are middle-aged or older and not particularly attractive, making it seem that the women are getting the raw end of their potential marriage arrangement. There’s no accounting for taste though, and nobody is forced into any potentially uncomfortable situations, so there’s always a chance for true love or at least mutual understanding as a result of this process.
Thompson isn’t only the president of his romance business, he’s also a member, as the film briefly touches on his previous marriage to a Mexican woman and his hope for a future marriage as well. He had the bright idea of using his own experience to help others long before the Internet revolution, and he’s remained fiercely loyal to his old-school techniques in spite of the proliferation of much easier and perhaps more effective matchmaking tools on the Internet. In his biggest success in the film, viewers follow the budding romance and eventual marriage of a couple introduced via his service. It’s a huge leap of faith for a Mexican woman to show up at the hotel in the first place, and another massive step for an American man to welcome her into his life in the US, but the film shows that under the right circumstances, a successful relationship can bloom under these extraordinary circumstances.
Director Michele Oyahon spends ample time on the relationships shown in the film, but also recognizes the incredibly entertaining character of Ivan Thompson and allocates sufficient time to simply capturing him in action. Thompson has no problem opening up to the camera, sharing hilarious tales of his prior adventures and narrating his current life situation as he leaves the US for a new home and a fresh start in Mexico. His business model doesn’t come close making him a rich man, but he gets great satisfaction out of his job and his ability to help others. He’s an endearing old-timer and viewers can’t help but hope that he finds his own true love again in his new home.
Written by Caballero Oscuro