I'm not sure why I'm posting this now. I guess it's about time. We had to do some reviews for a class I took in the Fall 'o6 semester. I reviewed Nacho Libre because I thought it had some funny parts, and I figured I could write a funny review on it. The best part is that the teacher loved it and I got 30/30 points. The previous paper I had gotten kind of a disappointing grade.
My world had come crashing down.
Okay, it wasn't that big of a deal, but it was nice to get the good grade on this one.
Without further ado:
Uncle Sam’s Movie Review
Nacho packs plenty of cheese
Director Jared Hess, known for his cult classic “Napoleon Dynamite,” now has a more impressive film to add to his résumé: “Nacho Libre.”
But the man who really makes the movie is Jack Black.
Black stars as Ignacio, aka Nacho, a Mexican friar who works at a Catholic monastery, but secretly moonlights as a “luchador.” Nacho’s duties consist of preparing meals for orphan children and clergymen. Nacho is frustrated with his lack of ministerial duties, but you quickly understand why he rarely receives such assignments when he gives a eulogy for a supposed dead man who is, in fact, still alive.
Although he works at the monastery, Nacho develops a crush for the new (and only) woman at work – the lovely Sister Encarnación (Ana de la Reguera). Nacho goes so far as to make her an extra special salad, filled with lettuce, tomato, crushed chips and a veritable lake of ranch dressing. He also professes his love by sliding multiple slices of rock-hard toast under the bedroom door of the object of his affection.
The film has more conflict than what you see on the surface or in the previews. In fact, this is one of the movie’s ongoing themes, as Nacho’s devout Christianity clashes with wrestling partner Esqueleto’s (Hector Jimenez – his character’s name is Spanish for skeleton) ironically strict belief in science. Besides, the scrawny, brief-rocking, savage Esqueleto hates orphans, and Nacho works in an orphanage. Now that’s drama, folks!
Nacho’s inspiration to wrestle emerges when he sees a poster claiming a handsome cash reward for the winner of a wrestling tournament. Our hero and Esqueleto take their share of lumps in the ring from a gamut of unusual characters, including a tag team of ferocious midgets who wear masks of an unusual horned lion-like beast.
As much as I push the idea that this movie features romance, action and everything between, the fact remains that “Nacho Libre” is a comedy – a comedy with better wrestling scenes than you can find on cable television.
All the while, Nacho and Esqueleto form a beatable – yes, you read that correctly – wrestling duo, that, despite a sketchy win-loss record, earns enough money to provide field trips and better food for the orphans, while buying themselves some fancy duds. Nacho even tries to impress Sister Encarnación with his uber-tight “leisure clothes” one night.
On the other hand, if you don’t like seeing portly guys in pale blue stretchy pants with red underoos on the outside, maybe you should skip this movie. Better yet, just cover your eyes during those parts. As crazy as this movie is, if you’re a fan of slapstick, “Nacho” is your cup of salsa.
“Nacho” tries a little too hard to force laughter upon its audience. With Black’s cut-up singing and wacky lyrics/dialogue, the humor – similar to his performance in “School of Rock” – is a bit juvenile and overdone. For example, at one point Nacho sings a song about Sister Encarnación and his dedication to the ministry. He sweetly croons about the possibility of breaking his vows of celibacy: “No, no, no way, José! … Unless you want to. Then we’d break our vows together!”
(Maybe you like this version of the song!)
The basis of this somewhat flimsy plot: live a dream by becoming a wrestler, get the cash that comes with that, and help the orphans have a better life. Although the film is actually based loosely – we’re talking street corner-lady loose – on the life of a Mexican minister/wrestler who taught about God according to his manner, the content is a bit farfetched.
Additionally, the film falls well short of “Napoleon” in terms of quotability.
But now I’m just getting too picky. The truth is, this film is enjoyable if and when you are in the mood for some lighthearted viewing. Before you watch “Nacho,” just make sure you expect it to be stupid. That’s what I expected, and fortunately, the movie far exceeded my expectations. I even went back for a second helping of Nacho at the theater (bad pun intended).
As Nacho would say in that well-mimicked Mexican accent, “it’s fantastic!”
Rated PG for some violence and mature themes.
Uncle Sam’s grade: B+
For comments, e-mail Uncle Sam at firstname.lastname@example.org