Published on June 20th, 2006 | by Erich Becker0
Review: Nacho Libre
If anyone is taking notes on how to do write, direct, and base a movie around a singular actors abilities, let Nacho Libre be the poster child and the butt of all jokes. In fact, it might be the only joke that is funny concerning this dreadfully unfunny affair that neither strikes a cord with Napoleon Dynamite fans or those who have an ounce of humor in their bodies. Nacho Libre is directly at a younger, more pure audience with its PG rating and flatulent humor, but no one is laughing at the film’s tired, reused jokes and disjointed direction.
The star of the film is Jack Black who, like Chris Farley before him, is falling into the pitfall of having movies writing specifically around him because he’s overweight, likes physical comedy, and can get a laugh by merely looking at someone funny. This worked out well in School of Rock, not so much in Nacho Libre. Sans for a breakdown moment channeling his inner Tenacious D, there just isn’t anything that makes you want to play money to see a fat guy wrestle. Millions of Americans do this already, but is far cheaper on TV and just as humorless.
The story revolves around Black’s character of Nacho; a friar at a orphanage in Mexico who has a love for wrestling and begins moonlighting in a Mexican underground amateur league with is local, skinny cohort Esqueleto (Héctor Jiménez). There’s also a love interest thrown into the mix (which seems odd considering she’s a nun) and the standard sports movie devices of quitting, being defeated, and coming back to the ring for one last fight to triumph are once again present and overused. Centering the story about a friar who moonlights as a wrestler is daring and different, but the execution is marred by the pain script.
Having never seen director Jared Hess’ first film I can’t comment on whether or not the script follows the same disjointed, almost sketch like makeup of Nacho Libre, but this film is in utter disarray all the way through. The thin story is only amplified by the fact that each of the day’s events or obstacles seem like a way to get Black to flail around or say something in a high-pitched voice. There’s a certain amount of tongue-in-cheek humor to it all, but it doesn’t go over the edge to make fun of itself, instead stays firmly planted in the middle of the road between mediocrity and boredom.
For being a comedy there isn’t much to laugh about as Nacho seems poised to run around without a shirt and fart. I’m not going to say that this wouldn’t normally be funny, but any film that supports these two comedic devices also throws us in some genuinely funny situations in which to support them, Libre gives us one character’s love for corn.
I suppose the direction and style of the film is an acquired taste by those who found Napoleon Dynamite incredibly funny, but as a movie, standing on its own two feet, Nacho Libre is a dreadful experience that shouldn’t be wished upon anyone. As with most comedies, the funniest bits are in the trailer, and even they aren’t that resounding in their ability to get you to at least chuckle a little bit.
Beware of Nacho, and stay away.