Saturday, November 22, 2008

Nacho Libre

Jack Black as a half-Mexican monk and wanna-be professional wrestler. Yup... that's pretty much the gist of it. And to be completely honest, when I first heard about it I pretty much had the same reaction that you are likely having right now. "No thanks." I refused to see it the theaters and refused again to buy it when it first came out on DVD. At some point, however, I managed to own. Whether I lost a bet or was coked out of my mind, I couldn't tell you. Either way, it is one of the better things I don't remember doing. I sat arms crossed and skepticism set on "high" during my first viewing, and I would not be an honest man if I didn't admit to being pleasantly surprised.

Black plays the lead role of Nacho, a friar in a Mexican orphanage who started his tenure there as a lonely lad with a lust for the life of luchadors (have my regular readers picked up on the love of alliteration yet?) but is thrust into the brotherhood instead and takes on the responsibility of chef. Years later he is still there dreaming of wrestling and sturggling with basic food preparation. The arrival of a new nun... the lovely Encarnacion... and the financial struggles of the orphanage drive Nacho to don the mask and tights and fight for the children he loves by doing what he loves. A supporting cast including... well... umm... a bunch of speechless glaring Hispanics join Black in this south-of-the-border cinematic spin. Now, let's get on with the ratings...

Original Release: 2006
Running Time: 92 minutes
Hardee-Har-Har - $1
There are times that I laugh here, but not THAT many. The jokes range from subtle (well, subtle as far as Jack Black is concerned) conversational quips to acts of complete randomness and even the occasional fart joke. The supporting cast does well with letting Black lead the way, but none other than his street-sleeping sidekick add any real comedic elements. While I did indeed laugh - and more than I expected - it doesn't stand out as being 40-nickels worth of funny.

Repeat Play - $1
As surprised as I was that I came to own Nacho Libre, I've been even more surprised that the dust has been brushed off a few times since then. In no way a "go to" part of my collection, the movie does at least serve its purpose as being a comedy that doesn't include Steve Carell, Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd, Jim Carrey or Seth Rogen. It's also probably the only Jack Black movie I will ever own... at least the only one with him in the lead role.

Pump up the Jams - $2
Nacho LIbre is a sneaky little punta with the musical selections. The main song used in the credits and throughout other parts of the movie is very catchy on its own. Spanish-language versions of classic oldies in he background of certain scenes is even better. The best though? Oh yes... that would be the songs that Black himself sings. None of them are lengthy, but they have had me and other folks I know singing them repeatedly. Personally, I am a fan of the tribute to Ramses, Nacho's favorite wrestler. My entire department at work, however, has enjoyed the musical confession of love for Encarnacion. I'll probably be singing that in my head for a few days at least now.

Action and Ass-Kickery - $1
Nacho Libre is about luchadors... Mexican professional wrestlers. I happen to be a fan of professional wrestling (don't judge) so I liked most of the fight/action/wrestling sequences here. The fact that they were wrestling matches and not just little comedic scuffles earns them a peso in my eyes.

Billicious - $1
Nacho Libre is definitely unique. With so many cookie-cutter movies flowing out of Hollywood, it is refreshing to find something a little different in an interesting way. The inclusion of professional wrestling doesn't hurt for my enjoyment either. I didn't think I was going to like it, and I did. THAT is what I love about it more than anything else. It was fun for me, and my hope is that it will be fun for you too... and if you've read and agree with any of my reviews to date than maybe it will.
Total Rating: $6

It's not for everyone, but Nacho Libre definitely has a following. If you think you can stomach ninety minutes of Jack Black topless and in spandex, then I would definitely recommend giving it a try. You might be pleasantly surprised! That's all from me for now, but with the Thanksgiving holiday coming up you can be sure that I will have several more DVDs and reviews coming up soon. Gobble gobble!

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