Nacho Libre (Special Collector’s Edition) (2006)
Jack Black is at his comic best as Ignacio, a disrespected cook at a Mexican monastery that can barely afford to feed the orphans who live there. Inspired by a local wrestling hero, he decides to moonlight as the not-so-famous Luchador — Nacho Libre — to earn money for the monastery — not to mention the admiration of beautiful nun Sister Encarnacion.
Editorial review of Nacho Libre (Special Collector’s Edition) (2006), courtesy of Amazon.com
This Jack Black vehicle seems, on the surface, like a perfect fit for the actor: an opportunity to showcase Black’s unique style with the extreme facial gestures and exuberant physicality that have become his forte. Black plays Ignacio, a lowly cook in a monastery in central Mexico who feeds orphans by day, and wrestles in the town square at night. Ignacio teams up with Esqueleto (Hector Jimenez), a street urchin who tormented him, to form a tag-team duo that goes up against the strangest wrestlers Mexico has to offer. Besides doing it for money to feed the orphans, Ignacio is also fighting to win the forbidden affections of Sister Encarnacion (Ana de la Reguera) with predictable difficulty.
While the movie has likable characters and the plot is enjoyable enough, it can’t overcome its plodding pace and formulaic structure enough to keep the movie interesting throughout. Jack Black is a very strong comedic actor, and the wrestling scenes offer plenty of chances for slapstick, physical comedy, but watching him run around in red briefs and blue tights amounts to half the laughs in the movie, and there’s just not enough here for him to really work with. When he plays a more well-formed character, as in School of Rock and High Fidelity, his strengths really show. But in Nacho Libre he’s saddled with a caricature. Weighed down by too much low-brow humor and a script that goes nowhere, Nacho Libre just can’t make full enough use of Black’s talents to overcome the obstacles. —Daniel Vancini