Nacho Libre
directed by Jared Hess
(Paramount, 2006)

Jack Black is a funny guy and a talented actor. Nacho Libre seems to base its entire substance on the hope that Black, given a ludicrous situation, will keep the audience laughing no matter how bare the plot or development.

It doesn't work, for all that Black seems to give it his best effort.

In Nacho Libre, Black plays a young Mexican friar who dreams of fame as a masked wrestler, but who is stuck instead cooking slop for a pack of Mexican orphans and ungrateful clergymen. When a street beggar, played by Hector Jimenez, steals Nacho's chips, the burly young friar finds his long-dreamed-of wrestling partner.

The movie bases its laughs on a persistent hope that audiences will keep laughing at mangled Mexican accents, Black's rotund form in stretchy pants, religious mockery, ludicrously bad wrestling moves and farts.

Fortunately, Black's performance is strong enough to earn the film some laughs, but it's not enough to carry the picture. And while his attempts to woo Sister Encarnacion (a delicately beautiful Ana de la Reguera) from her vows are cute, at first, it certainly doesn't provide enough of a romantic twist to bolster the plot.

To make matters worse, there is no solid end to the story and the movie just, well, ends.

by Tom Knapp
2 December 2006

Buy it from