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Overall Rating

Awesome: 14.73%
Worth A Look: 24.03%
Average: 10.85%
Pretty Bad: 21.71%
Total Crap28.68%

11 reviews, 63 user ratings

Nacho Libre
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by brianorndorf

"Better than it should be, and funnier than expected"
4 stars

As a critic that absolutely loathed “Napoleon Dynamite,” I’m overjoyed to report that Jared Hess’s follow-up, the wrestling extravaganza “Nacho Libre,” is infinitely better. This is simply the Jack Black show, and the actor burns through this goofy comedy with a bounce and heavily-accented playfulness that continually saves the film.

Nacho (Jack Black) is a frustrated pushover stuck in a remote Mexican monastery. Eager to comfort his charge of orphans, Nacho indulges his love of the wrestling world by becoming a masked “Luchador” and joining their ranks. With the aid of his tag-team partner Esqueleto (Hector Jimenez), Nacho finds his competition is brutal, but the money is good, which enables him able to impress the new nun on the compound, Sister Encarnacion (Ana de la Reguera). Forced to choose between the children he wants to help and the wrestling ring he loves, Nacho’s must search deep within himself and his “stretchy pants” to find the right thing to do.

Two summers ago, I sat dumbfounded in a tin can suburban movie theater watching a film entitled “Napoleon Dynamite.” Here was a movie that made 50% of the sold out crowd laugh until they were blue in the face, and left other half (including me) hoping a runaway truck would plow into the multiplex and bring a sweet end to the misery. Jared Hess’s one-trick-pony movie somehow conned a nation of online hipsters into thinking it was gold, and, for 15 minutes, it made a small dent in the popular culture. Now it’s a Hot Topic clearance shelf punchline. Watching “Nacho Libre,” it’s apparent what vital element was missing from “Dynamite.”

It didn’t star Jack Black.

Hess is a peculiar filmmaker with a distinctive kink to his comedy. To me, “Dynamite” was a two-minute idea chasing its tail for an unholy 80 minutes; squint hard enough and the same could be said of “Nacho.” The two films share almost the exact same visual scheme: Hess doesn’t push the camera to the comedy, instead he keeps a fixed focus on the frame, and the fun that can be held inside of it. Handed a much larger budget for “Nacho,” Hess has more room to play, but his minimalist comedy ideas are king to him when all is said and done. He loves the small moments, be it the team handshake between Nacho and Esqueleto, the melting butter on the treasured corn treats the Luchadores love, or Nacho’s intricately handmade costume; the details intrigue Hess, and help bring about a evocative portrait of Nacho’s Mexican village.

Working with his “School of Rock” screenwriter Mike White, it’s Black who takes Hess’s blueprint for comedy and sprints off into the sunset. To see Black still willing to get silly when other comedians are losing their taste for the game (Jim Carrey, Will Ferrell) makes him the ideal choice to personify Nacho.

Effecting a comedic Mexican accent (playful, not hateful), shoving his jelly belly into his balloon chest, and choosing a hairstyle-and-mustache combo reminiscent of an in-his-prime Ron Jeremy, Black is a snort and a half as the title character. He’s stomping around the film with familiar Blackisms (he does manage to sneak some singing in - a film highlight), and a roaring free-for-all reaction policy that results in the picture’s biggest laughs. Black is insatiable running around Hess’s free-range aesthetic, and his continual commitment to absurdly high energy and blindsiding comedy choices make this one of the best performances of his career. This is Jack Black’s “Ace Ventura.”

Strangely, it’s the wrestling scenes that drag “Nacho” down to the mat. Stunt-heavy and bringing around the more colorful characters of the film, they tend to be one-note sequences; you can only watch Nacho get his behind handed to him in so many ways before it the impact starts to numb. Also displeasing are the constant reminders from Hess that he’s making the film for the Nickelodeon crowd. There’s a lot of feces and flatulence humor in the film that just didn’t need to be here, especially in the same movie where Jack Black is running around in baby blue tights. That’s more than enough to fill the pre-teen “ewww!” quotient.

Perhaps the secret to getting the most creative juice out of Jared Hess is keeping comedy-poison Jon Heder away from him.

“Nacho Libre” is such a remarkable improvement over “Napoleon Dynamite,” someone might want to check the temp in hell and see if it’s still toasty down there.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 06/16/06 14:54:11
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 CineVegas Film Festival For more in the 2006 CineVegas Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

12/17/18 Ajp wales A good movie. Just fun. 4 stars
8/28/11 Jennifer We love Jack Black and this is one movie my kids love to watch. Silly but awfully funny. 5 stars
11/21/10 DaveY The silliness is fun- Jack,Hector & Darius r great & Ana is gorgeous - I luv the soundtrak 4 stars
1/25/09 Robert O'Keife David is just using the internet to vent because he is insecure about his small penis 1 stars
1/09/09 Samantha Pruitt pretty funny, very ridiculous! lot of awkward moments, 4 stars
12/03/07 Screwball The best movie I've seen about Mexican wrestling. 4 stars
10/20/07 Lynn "Get that corn outa my face!!!!" - The one and only funny line in the whole entire movie 2 stars
7/25/07 frito-laid i want my two hours! 1 stars
7/01/07 Mehmet Unal Boring and totally devoid of anything resembling wit or humour 1 stars
5/19/07 David Pollastrini PRETTY DUMB 3 stars
5/17/07 ES I wanted to like this movie but with two times watching and not making it too the end... 2 stars
1/27/07 diego Alvarez If david thinks this movie is dull, he must have no sense of humor and he is really lame 5 stars
1/23/07 Dave Hilarious movie, David just doesn't get it (or Napoleon Dynamite) 4 stars
1/11/07 rozza david cornelisu is a cunt!! its a minter of a film so is dynamite!! 5 stars
1/06/07 jack diy "or how a large percentage of Mexicans are retarded" ...what tha fuck? fuck you david 1 stars
12/24/06 11pop It's a piece of crap 1 stars
12/05/06 maggie truly dreadful piece of filmmaking 1 stars
12/04/06 Carson I nominate david cornelius for biggest douche in the universe, and this movie was great 5 stars
11/17/06 George The only way to describe this movie is STUPID, but its so stupid that you have to laugh!!! 5 stars
11/17/06 Paul lots of memorable moments, if you`re lookinf for Casablanca go elsewhere 4 stars
11/11/06 surfric I'm a JB fan, but this is strictly a time killer. Laughed maybe twice. 3 stars
11/11/06 DIANA there were some funny moments, not a lot but some 3 stars
11/10/06 Dan Relax, stop being so high brow. It's a classic. 5 stars
11/09/06 Babz I had a good laugh. 3 stars
11/08/06 Derek Just right 5 stars
11/01/06 Mike Really really funny! A breath of fresh air. Laughed my balls off all the way through! 5 stars
11/01/06 ad fresh 4 stars
10/31/06 Bundy Ok, seriously this movie was pretty funny, and David Cornelius is an assfuck. 5 stars
10/31/06 Ryan_A Laughed once - the corncob to the eye bit. Other than that, surprisingly unfunny. 2 stars
10/31/06 ES Ho-hum, almost not worth the watch but it passes time, I guess 3 stars
10/30/06 Roy Smith I might consult a lawyer - this was advertised as a Comedy. 1 stars
8/28/06 Barry Norman what a load of bollcks, jack black must have a movie deal to do this shite 1 stars
8/09/06 Dragon The Artist An ownable Jack Black comedy,about as good as Nepolian Dynamite.Both cult classic-ish 5 stars
8/06/06 Erik Van Sant I wanted to love this movie. Regrettably, it sucked big, floppy donkey dicks. 2 stars
7/25/06 Alex Paquin Unbearably offensive, hispanophobic, and not at all funny. A waste of Jack Black's talent. 1 stars
7/19/06 Marjorie The jokes were puerile and his fat gut was repulsive. 2 stars
7/13/06 Captain Highcrime The least they could have done is pass out some Taco Bell...lost it's comic punch quick 2 stars
7/09/06 Mike Awesome movie - well crafted. Seaver's Review - also Awesome! 5 stars
7/09/06 Edler Hilarious part of the goofy comedy genre. But if you don't know Mexico, you won't get it. 5 stars
7/03/06 Heather Weak movie, wait until the DVD comes out and rent it instead 3 stars
7/01/06 Gerry Irons Too silly and long on one joke -with no wit or substance 2 stars
6/30/06 Mike (of Mike & the MORONS) Great! Lots to laugh at, and great (though odd) soundtrack. 4 stars
6/26/06 Mase Like a long bad snl skit, with Black trapped in the role and a PG rating. 2 stars
6/26/06 verdesage this movie is great and completely worth seeing! theres nothing not to like about it! 5 stars
6/25/06 pin What's with Hess and food shots? Nice pacing, Black was hilarious. 4 stars
6/24/06 ELLY the best 1 stars
6/22/06 Caiphn You people are clearly retarded. 1 stars
6/22/06 Tommy The worst movie I have ever seen bar none 1 stars
6/20/06 pedro painful 2 stars
6/20/06 jitters So, good-natured, pleasant and simple are bad things? I loved it. Viva Nacho! 4 stars
6/19/06 earlrural About as good as I expected. Much more Hollywood than Napoleon Dynamite. 4 stars
6/19/06 John Aster Habig Jack Black carries the film through Hess's slow pace and keeps the laughs constant 5 stars
6/19/06 Darius Silly plot, yes; unbelievable, yes; hilarious, yes; Hector Jimenez, fantastic 5 stars
6/19/06 Kell Dixon Nacho liber was the worst movie I have paid to see in a long time. The end 1 stars
6/18/06 lee Great attention to detail!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
6/17/06 Stacy Started out kind of slow for me, but definitely worth seeing. 4 stars
6/17/06 nachooo JB was AWESOME in this role. the movie was laugh out loud funny for about 90% of the time. 5 stars
6/17/06 Evil Wolfie At least its better then Napolion Dynamite. 3 stars
6/16/06 KingNeutron Wrestling was good; rest of the movie needed a REAL DIRECTOR + EDITING. JB's worst effort. 2 stars
6/08/06 CJ Payne very funny ,good date movie. 5 stars
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  16-Jun-2006 (PG)
  DVD: 24-Oct-2006



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