Jared Hess’s follow-up to the cult smash Napoleon Dynamite stars Jack Black as Nacho, an orphan raised in a Mexican monastery who secretly dreams of achieving fame and glory as a Lucha Libre wrestler. (Lucha Libre is Mexico’s version of the WWE, featuring high-flying wrestlers often adorned in elaborate masks.)
As the monastery’s cook, Nacho grows weary of serving the same diet of tortilla chips and gruel day after day and jumps into the ring in an effort to raise money to purchase heartier fare. He and his tag-team partner, the orthodontically-challenged Esqueleto, soon learn that professional wrestling isn’t as easy as it looks.
Nacho Libre is an entertaining piece of family-friendly fare, even if the humor at times is uneven and often needlessly crude. The movie illustrates the difficulty of making a studio film with an indie sensibility. Director Hess tries in vain to infuse it with some of the delightful weirdness that made Napoleon Dynamite so much fun; the result is sort of a contrived quirkiness. Hess might have been better suited if he tried to make a more conventional comedy and simply allowed Black to do his thing. The funniest scenes, interestingly enough, are those that feature Nacho in song, harkening back to Black’s days as part of the music/comedy duo Tenacious D.
At the end of the day, one’s opinion of Nacho Libre will likely be predicated on one’s opinion of Jack Black, as the movie is more or less a vehicle for his manic brand of comedy. If you enjoy Black’s relentlessly wacky antics, chances are you’ll enjoy Nacho Libre.
What’s On the Disc
Special features on the DVD are relatively spare. The disc’s entertaining commentary features Jack Black, Jared Hess and producer Mike White. Commentaries are always better when a comedian’s involved, and this is no exception. Black mostly jokes around while Hess attempts to explain the rational behind the quirkiness layered throughout the film.
“Jack Sings” is a funny behind-the-scenes look at the filming of Black’s musical scenes. A handful of forgettable deleted scenes are also included, as are trailers, promo spots, a photo gallery and previews of other Paramount and Nickelodeon projects.
For those watching on a PC, the DVD includes a “Comic Book Creator,” which allows fans to write their own Nacho Libre comic books using images from the film. It’s a largely superfluous feature.