COWBOY DEL AMOR In her engaging but skin-deep portrait of Ivan Thompson, an appealing old gent who makes his living playing matchmaker between lonely New Mexican men and Mexican women, Michèle Ohayon falls into the old documentary trap — the illusion that once you’ve found yourself a lovable eccentric to follow around with a camera, you automatically have a movie. This is a pity, for, as Ohayon proved with It Was a Wonderful Life, her devastating 1993 study of former Beverly Hills homemakers living out of their cars, she knows how to spot a worthwhile subject. Perhaps because Thompson is a street-smart wag (though you may have to stuff your feminism in your pocket to listen to him compare the “woman business” to his other area of expertise, the horse business), Ohayon dubs her movie a “documentary comedy.” Personally, I found it more sad than funny that at age 60 this Cowboy Cupid was better at managing his clients’ romances than his own. Likewise, the movie’s real subject — the loneliness of working-class American men who find American women “too hard to please,” and yet hitch themselves to capable, intelligent Mexican wives who outclass them on almost every front — remains only superficially explored. (Nuart) (Ella Taylor)
GO CURIOUS GEORGE Like most recent screen adaptations of beloved children’s books from the pre-P.C. Dark Ages, Matthew O’Callaghan’s benign animated parsing (from a crisp screenplay by Ken Kaufman) of the beloved 65-year-old series by Margret and H.A. Rey about an imported monkey making mischief in the big city is carefully tweaked so as to offend no liberal or other sensibilities below the General Audiences line. Accordingly, wee George has not been snatched from his jungle habitat by that colonial predator, The Man in the Yellow Hat (Will Ferrell, a.k.a. Ted in the movie). He stows away of his own volition on the ship carrying Ted, a nerdy museum guide with his head so deep in his dry research that he notices neither that he’s boring visiting kids to death nor that their amply endowed teacher (Drew Barrymore) has the hots for him. Curious George cleaves faithfully to the antics with which George brings the city to a repeated standstill. But the cute simian’s chief function, in this age of peewee pedagogy, is to bring the clueless Ted to an awareness of his own animal nature and jazz up the museum with a little mad science. Some amusing new characters are added (love the Russian doorman), and the 2-D animation, simple and serviceable after a tortured production history, is fine. But the jewel in the movie’s crown is its gorgeous pastel palette, alternating with warm earth tones. (Citywide) (Ella Taylor)
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