Friday, July 28, 2006



By Reymundo Salao

Nacho (Jack Black) is a man without skills. After growing up in a Mexican monastery, he is now a grown man and the monastery's cook, but doesn't seem to fit in. Nacho cares deeply for the orphans he feeds, but his food is terrible – mostly, if you ask him, a result of his terrible ingredients. He realizes he must hatch a plan to make money to buy better food for "the young orphans, who have nothing" (…and if in doing so Nacho can impress the lovely Sister EncarnaciĆ³n, that would be a big plus).

When Nacho is struck by the idea to earn money as a Lucha Libre wrestler, he finds that he has a natural, raw talent for wrestling. As he teams with his rail-thin, unconventional partner, Esqueleto (the Skeleton), Nacho feels for the first time in his life that he has something to fight for and a place where he belongs.

As Lucha is strictly forbidden by the church elders at the monastery, Nacho is forced to lead a double life. Disguised by a sky blue mask, Nacho conceals his true identity as he takes on Mexico's most famous wrestlers and takes on a hilarious quest to make life a little sweeter at the orphanage. (Synopsis from Paramount Pictures)

NACHO LIBRE is the incredible combination of comedy superstar Jack Black and director Jared Hess who has immortalized the quirky cult icon "Napoleon Dynamite" Together, they make a perfect combination for project such as this. Jack Black has certainly risen to comedy kingship fame from back when he started with very minor roles in "Cable Guy" and "The Jackal" among many other roles where he was playing just "some dude" roles. Not after he broke through with lead roles in "High Fidelity" and "Shallow Hal", and being the front man of his band Tenacious D, did he get to become an unforgettable actor that fans would begin to adore. He finally gained widespread popularity with "School of Rock" and one of the leading roles in "King Kong" wherein he got to show his more serious acting. But in "Nacho Libre", Jack Black is back at what he does best: being hilarious, funny and weird. He slams, bams, and even sings in this movie. And for Jack Black to play a half-Mexican with such a Mexican accent that according to him, is patterned after Ricardo Montalban in his performance in the movie "Star Trek: Wrath of Khan", Black has pulled off one very memorable iconic comedy characters.

Jack Black's wild acting melds well with Jared Hess' style. Hess is a master at intentionally making unintentional scenes look funny. Hess knows how to make a scene that doesn’t really come off as a joke, but you find yourself chokingly giggling to it. Likewise, He certainly knows how to make hilarious scenarios out of simple awkward moments and even awkward cinematography. It's as if it could play safe, that in case it wont make people laugh, it could get away with an excuse--i wasnt trying to make you laugh! The cool part is that it never comes off as cheap and slapsticky, but rather comes off with enough style and a touch of artistry to it, especially with the focus on vibrant colors and the picturesque setting. Even the most minor scene looks like a bossa-nova postcard.

The film also has the wackiest lines. (I wont tell you: I don’t wana spoil the humor impact) Lines that you will surely repeat over and over after you’ve watched the movie.

Hess also displays his knack for oddities. It is what has become his signature style, which is the employment of the silliest looking actors, actresses and extras, having them act in the most realistically silly way, and also the use of the silliest fashion statements, preferably the forgotten designs of the 60's and 70's.

As comedic as it may seem, Nacho Libre is actually inspired by true events (!) In Mexico, there was once a Luchador who was known as Fray Tormenta, and has had a 23-year long career as a lucha libre wrestler. Of course, everybody thought at first that his claiming to be a Fray (friar) was part of the whole dramatic luchador image. But his fans were later shocked to find that behind the mask, he really is a friar who moonlights as a wrestler in order to raise funds for the orphanage where he works at. Beneath NACHO LIBRE’s layer of comedy, lies a very beautiful storyline about valiance and charity.

The humor of NACHO LIBRE is far more refreshing from the mediocre slapstick of recent comedy flicks. Some may find the humor of Nacho Libre very unusual, but it never fails to be corny. Me and my friends had a gigglefest watching this movie. One of those few comedies that electrify you with laughter up from the very first seconds of the film, up to the end. NACHO LIBRE is the Wackiest movie I’ve seen since the days of the classic comedy flicks of Tito Vic and Joey and Rene Requiestas. And it manages to be artsy-fartsy beautiful. NACHO LIBRE is a non-stop party of humor.

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