If you loved Napoleon Dynamite…you still should not see Nacho Libre!
Brought to us by the same director and co-writer, Jared Hess, this film is centered on "Lucha Libre" a form of free-style fighting developed in Mexico. Jack Black (King Kong, School of Rock) stars as Ignacio a.k.a. "Nacho" in this film about an orphan boy who grows up to become a monk with an irrepressible dream of becoming a real fighter- a luchador.
Disregarded by the other monks, and relegated to the kitchen to act as cook for the orphan children under their care, Nacho's desire for fame and recognition burns stronger and stronger. One day on his regular trips into the village to pick up food, he sees THE Ramses. Ramses, is the most famous and most worshipped of all the luchadores. Nacho's aspirations begin to grow, and when he learns of an open call for luchadores he sees his chance to make money for better food for the orphans and a chance to impress the newly arrived Sister Encarnación (Ana de la Reguera). To fight in the tournament, he enlists the help of a homeless villager (Héctor Jiménez) and thus the tag-team of Nacho and Esqueleto (the Skeleton) is born.
Keeping his identity a secret by wearing a mask, Nacho fights his way up the ranks knowing full well of that the church, as does Sister Encarnación, disapproves of Lucha Libre. In the end he must make a decision about his faith and his fighting, and how his passion for both can co-exist.
Well, that is the plot summary of a film that is a disjointed and clumsy attempt at fusing heartwarming and the absurd. If this film had been made by the Farrelly brothers starring Adam Sandler, perhaps it would have all made sense. Instead we are stuck with a strangely religious vehicle that wastes Jack Black's actual talent and aspires only to cheap laughs. Unfortunately, the jokes are even too cheap to get a laugh. The entire film actually climaxes at a point so ludicrous, that I actually did laugh, and then like the top of a roller coaster it was all down from there. I took particular offense at the portrayal of Nacho as a pudgy boy, turned fat man, turned hero versus the supposed comic relief of a fat woman portrayed as repulsive and obnoxious. Perhaps I have been harsh to this point, so I will add that the fight scenes are extremely well choreographed and gave me a momentary glimpse into what draws people to the WWF. Jack Black also throws himself into the physicality of the role wholeheartedly, which is a necessity in a film like this one. All in all this film falls flat in both its slapstick humour and its sentimentality.
-Nacho Libre Comic Book Creator
-5 behind-the-scenes featurettes