Tuesday, 18 July 2006

Nacho Libre (2006)

This priest has been caught in a compromising position

If School of Rock represents Jack Black at the top of his game, Nacho Libre is one without a doubt one of the weaker offerings from the comedian and musician.

As you would know from the ubiquitous trailers by now, Jack Black plays Nacho, a Mexican priest who wrestles in secret in the city’s Luca Libre tournaments. Why does he do it? Nacho’s day job as a cook in a monastery is depressing; the church elders look down on him and his incredible lack of talent for cooking – or any duties, for the matter. His dedication and love for the orphans at the monastery and newcomer Sister Encarnacion (Ana de la Reguera) keep him going. A chance meeting with Esqueleto (Hector Jimenez) inspires Nacho to team up with the former street thief to embark on a wrestling career, and also provides money for Nacho to buy fresher groceries to make better meals for the orphans and Encarnacion.

Hilarity ensues because
1.Nacho farts a lot
2.He is a horrendously bad wrestler who loses every match
3.He’d go through any means to improve his wrestling skills

At this point, I’d like to say that Nacho Libre is mildly entertaining, only because of Jack Black’s delivery and lines are so ridiculous it’s funny. The fast-paced wrestling matches are cleverly-disguised skits on just how many ways can Nacho lose a match in a hilarious and catastrophic manner. They also have another function: speeding the audience to the end of the movie.

The best test for a comedy is this: Will you want to watch it again the next day? The premise of a wrestling priest is not offbeat or even gimmicky enough. While Black’s lines are ridiculously funny, there are no actual comic payoffs, and the movie feels like a collection of comedy sketches that have no punchlines at the end. These are a hallmark of a script that has been rushed, that should have been edited about two more times before the production of the movie can go ahead.

As it stands, Nacho Libre is a slightly above average comedy of 2006, only because of an escalation in risqué humour and scatological jokes in every other comedy (Scary Movie and Little Man, anyone?). For Jack Black or even director Jared Hess, this is one of their weakest films to date. Mildly amusing, but no real buzz.

First published at incinemas on 20 July 2006

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