Nacho Libre
Beware of this fearsome warrior.

Theatrical Release Date: 06/16/2006
Director: Jared Hess
Cast: Jack Black, Héctor Jiménez, Ana de la Reguera

Nachooooooooooo … Okay, I’m spent.

Before taking my word on how “Nacho Libre” lived up to its premise, make sure to factor in that I am not on the “Napoleon Dynamite” bandwagon.

Yes, I’ve tried watching it multiple times but I still don’t get the phenomenon. (mmmm …. John Travolta – Have I mentioned the poster for that film is Travolta hailing a cab?)

Anyway, I liked some of the bits and jokes in “Dynamite” but thought it was lacking as a cohesive story. It felt like a bunch of interstitials stapled together to make it feature-length.

Now Jared Hess is back with his next project, “Nacho Libre”, and there were some improvements to the idea of having a story arc. The story develops in the normal way, with all of the predictable ups and downs. So kudos to Hess for making a film rather than an anthology of sketch comedy.

“Nacho Libre” centers on Nacho, a Mexican priest (Jack Black) who wants to gain fame and fortune through Lucha Libre (a style of wrestling to the uninformed). He also wants to help the orphans he takes care of and impress the newest addition to the orphanage, Sister Encarnación (de la Reguera).

Along the way, Nacho picks up a tag team partner (Jiménez) who provides at times good comic relief but usually is more like the “Pedro” of the film.

One of the problems I have is that Hess has created another film where there’s a quirky main character and an impassive, deadpan, accent-laden sidekick.

Also, I like my comedies full of energy (“Ghostbusters”, “BASEketball”, “Spaceballs”). There are some laughs to be had in “Nacho Libre” but the lack of energy on screen lulls me into a trance like state.

Since I saw this at a screening, there were loads of people there who are die-hard fans of both “Napoleon Dynamite” and Jack Black. The audience seemed to really get into it for the most part. So there was a lot of laughter going on during the film, though usually while I was settling into a Buddhist dream-like state.

There were some really funny moments and my friends should watch out for the baptisms I plan on serving up in the near future, as an homage to “Nacho Libre”. But overall, for me, the laughs were too few and far between.

Seeing a second film by Hess, I’ve figured out what I don’t like about his style and it’s the lack of frenetic pace and energy. His movies are too calm and deadpan for me. It’s a personal thing so I’m not going to knock his talent and effort.

If you’re a fan of the liger drawing geek, you’ll like “Nacho Libre”. If you didn’t vote for Pedro, you won’t want tickets to Nacho’s wrestling matches. I’m going to give “Nacho Libre” a 2 out of 5.

Take that rating with a grain of salt because that’s just how the film works for me. As much as I love Jack Black (and am looking forward to “Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny” later this year), I just can’t get with “Nacho Libre”. But I know there are millions of people out there, and literally ones of people who read this, that will find lots to like in this film.