BY: Laurie Coker


RELEASE DATE: 6th May 2012

DISC INFORMATION: 1 Disc – Wide-Screen Edition

RUNNING TIME: Approximately 91 minutes


GENRE: Drama/Romance

STUDIO: Lamppost Productions

“After the death of his father, Jesse Torres (Roger Gutierrez) leaves his rural life as a cattle rancher on a journey of self-discovery. Moving into a seedy Hollywood apartment next door to his childhood friend Tom (Brian Eric Johnson), Jesse quickly learns the harsh realities of urban living. Through his relationship with Lil’ Bit (Christina Woods), an embattled resident of the neighborhood, Jesse discovers that life’s challenges must be met, not avoided” (Ranchero Official Site).

I like this film more than I expected, but still felt put off by the clichés and stereotypes put forth in it. And While I liked Jessie (Gutierrez), he hardly feel like a “fish-out-of-water,” as he is meant to be a country boy finding his way in the big city of L.A. He dresses retro and sports a pompadour hairstyle and carries himself well. His lifelong pal, Tom (Johnson, who also wrote the screenplay) mocks him for his unusual sense of style, and the unsavory characters in his low-rent L.A. neighborhood stare at him as if he rolled into town on a tractor wearing overalls and a straw hat, but he has not. He fits to well in L.A. if the truth be known, so the character doesn’t feel real. Gutierrez plays his part well, as does the ensemble cast. Danny Trejo makes his one on-screen appearance in the climactic scene, and he has been tasked with embodying every evil, and in truth, in Trejo fashion he does just that. I always enjoy him, especially as a baddy.

In truth the film is riddled with inconsistencies – why would Jesse’s boss inexplicably give him a brand new truck when he leaves the ranch – for example, and how can we buy into a character that doesn’t really seem out of place in his new environment? Still some of the story entertains and as noted, the cast is strong. The films dialogue often feels forces and frankly a bit fake. I am not sure the writer (Johnson) actually understands his characters. I have seen far too many wonderfully realized characters, from all walks of life, to buy into these cliché folks. To be fair, director Richard Kaponas does offer a few impressive and telling montages that held my interest and made up for some of the films faults, that and the relationship between Jesse and Lil’ Brit (Woods) and his desire to save and protect her pleases, but it still seems forced to me.

Ultimately, I did not feel that I wasted my time watching Ranchero (rated R), but I can’t say I’d see it again. I never really felt bored, just disappointed in some aspects. I am placing a C- in my grade book. I know some who will like it a great deal, but I am not among them. If the story had been as strong as the cast, then I might have been drawn in, but it is not.

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