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Tasty Nacho cheese
Review: Jack Black, midget wrestlers spice up with Nacho Libre
By JIM SLOTEK - Toronto Sun
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Jack Black, on the bottom, gets that pain in his neck taken care of in Nacho Libre.

?Is Nacho Libre a stupid comedy? !Jes! !Bery, bery stupid and cheap and cheesy! ?Is it funny? !Jes! Muy hilarioso in parts.

Mix Jack Black, his School Of Rock writing partner Mike White and Napoleon Dynamite director Jared Hess and the cult craze of Lucha Libre Mexican wrestling (as per the recent Lucha Vavoom event at Toronto's Guvernment club), and you get an enthusiastically dumb movie based on two presumptions:

(1) Jack Black's persona-based raised-eyebrow smartassery is inherently funny, and (2) midget wrestlers are even funnier.

If you vote no on both No. 1 and No. 2, read no further. For better or worse, your reviewer still finds himself laughing at Black's riffs (his vanity band Tenacious D, for example). And the midgets will have to speak for themselves (although in this movie, all they do is growl behind troll masks)

Based entirely around Black's cheesy Mexican accent (and supported by game Mexican actors whose accents, presumably, are real), Nacho Libre stars the actor as Father Ignacio, the low man at a Oaxaca monastery/orphanage where he cooks a never-changing menu of refritas and tortillas. One day, inspired by love for an angelic new nun, Sister Encarnacion (Penelope Cruz-lookalike Ana de la Reguera) and ashamed at allowing the theft of the orphans' tortillas by a scrawny homeless man (Hector Jimenez) he reinvents himself as a Luchadore, a practitioner of stylized Mexican wrestling, and enlists the vagrant Esquele as his partner.

Behind the scenes, they discover everyone gets paid in wrestling, so they begin a career as lovable losers (the butt-kicking they take from the midgets being the nadir of their career).

The humour bounces between what Chris Farley used to call "Fatty fall down" (as when Ignacio, aka Nacho, fits himself into too-small tights in his debut, giving us a bit too much of his buttcrack to look at) and a dry, ironic patter in which contemporary American dialogue becomes funny when spoken with an accent.

(I don't know why it gets laughs when a lovestruck Ignacio keeps saying "So, anyways..." to Sister Encarnacion when striking up a conversation, but it does.)

For all Black's trademark contributions, Nacho's funny really springs from the supporting cast, especially Jimenez.

WHAT YOU THINK
Did you see Nacho Libre this weekend?
Yeah, it was great 10%
Yeah, it was okay 8%
It was terrible 8%
Didn't see it 54%
I'm waiting for the DVD 21%
As for the romantic and sexual tension between the priest and the nun, I have to admit I found that a bit strange -- but only because in the Catholic school I attended, the nuns would have made far better luchadores than the priests.

BOTTOM LINE

Is this is a stupid movie? Jes! Bery, bery stupid, and cheap and cheesy. Is it funny? Jes! Muy hilarioso in parts. And frankly, if midget wrestlers with troll masks don't make you laugh, well... I guess you and I don't laugh at the same things.

---

NACHO LIBRE

1 hour, 40 minutes

Starring: Jack Black, Ana de la Reguera, Hector Jimenez

Director: Jared Hess

Rated: PG

PLOT: To raise money for better food for his Oaxaca orphanage, a Mexican priest dons a cape and a mask, enlists a homeless man as a tag-team partner, and becomes a Luchador (Mexican wrestler).

Sun Rating: 3 out of 5

RELATED LINKS

  • More on Nacho Libre
  • The SLAM! Wrestling Movie Database