Nacho Libre 

Will Ignacio find his place in el mundo?

Genre: Triumphant-of-the-rotund-human-spirit comedy

The Pitch: Extremely well-fed orphan Ignacio (Jack Black) serves up gruel to fellow orphans at a monastery while harboring dreams of becoming "Nacho," a luchador -- Mexico's much-revered and mask-wearing wrestler. Will he, like director Jared Hess' previous protagonist, Napoleon Dynamite, find his place in el mundo?

Cross-Pollination: The Three Amigos meets Zorro, the Gay Blade meets The Blues Brothers meets ... oh, never mind.

Separated at Birth: Ana de la Reguera as Sister Encarnación is a dead ringer for Penélope Cruz as Sister María Rosa Sanz in Pedro Almodóvar's All About My Mother.

Money shot: Just when you think you've seen enough of Black's surprisingly graceful wrestling moves -- anyone who's seen his band Tenacious D will testify to his athletic stage presence -- Nacho flies through the air with the greatest of ease in pouncing on his opponent. Splendor in the crash.

Fart jokes: Three.

Flesh factor: Never before has Jack Black's prodigious pot belly received so much screen time, or from so many different angles. Now that the standard has been set, let's all pray Bernardo Bertolucci never works with him.

Best line: Of course, all of Nacho's lines must be spoken with an over-the-top, Ricardo Montalban accent, but here's our personal favorite: "When you are a man, sometimes you wear stretchy pants in your room -- just for fun."

Product Placement: Or more accurately, why no product placement? Who over at Tostito's didn't pick up the phone for that call? Mystifying.

Fashion Statement: Apparently having graduated from the Todd Oldham school of mix and match, in one montage sequence Nacho pilfers everything from a velvet-lined coffin to a window curtain that would make Scarlett O'Hara proud for his primary-colored patchwork quilt of a cape.

Off-Screen Controversy: Film composer Danny Elfman reportedly requested his name be taken off the credits due to some fudging with some of the music cues, according to Ain't It Cool News. Weird silence.

The bottom line: Nacho Libre feels like the result of Jack Black watching Napoleon Dynamite with his School of Rock screenwriter buddy Mike White, and then head-butting Jared Hess at a party in Hollywood Hills and screaming, "Dude, I wanna work with you! Whatcha got?!?" Questionable stereotyping and a one-joke act by Black all but keeps Nacho Libre pinned down for the count.

3 stars

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Recent Comments

  • Re: Fresh air

    • Local band Manchester Orchestra, who provided the soundtrack, probably would have appreciated a shout-out.

    • on June 29, 2016
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