Hey folks, Harry here with The Rawdeal's look at NACHO LIBRE. Rawdeal's contributed in the past - and has come through this time with a look at the close to final print of NACHO LIBRE. Danny Elfman's score and all the fine tuning has seemed to pay off. I can't stand having to wait till June 9th for the Austin screening of this... I tell you, I just know this is going to rock as hard as this spy says it will...
The Rawdeal here with a review of "Nacho Libre" starring Jack Black.
Anyway, I caught "Nacho" at a screening in Burbank tonight. The audience was packed and mostly Hispanic, curiously enough. I don't know why that is, but I do know one thing for sure - the audience ate this flick up like the #2 platter at El Torito cuz it's friggin' hilarious!
Alright, basically you have Jack Black in a movie about Mexican wrestling (Lucha Libre). Anyone who saw that pub photo a while back with just the mere image of Mr. Black shirtless, in a mask and in character just knew they'd already be forking over their nine bucks right then and there just to see what was up.
Fortunately, this film is ACTUALLY worth paying the price, because in my opinion what we have on our hands here is something akin to PEE-WEE'S BIG ADVENTURE. Different, odd, highly inventive and just plain funny. The world that Nacho inhabits - it's Mexico, but a kind of stone-age version of it where people have only puppet shows and Lucha Libre to entertain themselves in it. Let's just start right there...
So JB plays Ignacio - or "Nacho" for short - a half-white half-Mexican orphan who has dreamed of being a wrestler since childhood. Unfortunately wrestling is considered a sin by the Catholic faith, so Nacho keeps his wrestling fantasies buried beneath his monk's robe as he dutifully works as a cook in the monastery/orphanage he's lived in since his parents passed away. The children of the orphanage love Nacho, but hate his cooking, and there's a scene early on about that fact that sets the tone of the film's humor - a combination of totally outrageous yuks mixed with tender hearted stuff played straight by odd-ball characters who make you laugh in the first place anyway.
One day the monastery receives a new nun, played by my new fiancÃ©e (she just doesn't know it yet) Ana de la Reguera. There are beautiful women and then there are women like Ana de la Reguera. It's like Salma Hayek and Penelope Cruz decided to combine their hotness and just morph into this one person. Ridiculously beautiful. Anyway, she shows up and Nacho falls head over heels for her. Meanwhile, Nacho decides to join forces and form a tag-team partnership with a guy who beats him up and steals the orphan’s tortilla chips. The guy, a skinny, violent freak played by Hector Jimenez, basically assumes the "Pedro" role here as Nacho's main confidante, but in this movie this Pedro gets to wrestle and take beatdowns from old women and midget wrestlers.
JB and his new partner enter various wrestling contests, and although they don't ever win any of them they still find themselves getting paid for their troubles. Suddenly, the menu at the orphanage gets better prepared with more "fresh ingredients" and Nacho's wardrobe gets an upgrade. Nacho begins to fulfill his life-long dreams of being a wrestler, but the more involved he becomes in the sport (and the world of Luchadores), eventually the less involved he grows with his duties at the orphanage.
Eventually, the story comes down to Nacho entering into a big match with Ramses, a character modeled on the famous Mexican wrestler Mil Mascaras (complete with powder blue suit, fine ladies and mask at all times).
I was laughing throughout the film, but I haven't laughed so hard in the final 5 minutes of any movie like this one since I saw the first "Naked Gun". For me that's pretty good for a family friendly, PG rated film, but that's "Nacho Libre" in a nutshell. It doesn't try to beat you over the head or gouge a laugh out of you. Jack Black does Mexican wrestling - what else do you need, jigga? Toss in a supporting cast of some of the weirdest looking people (aside from the ultra-hot nun) ever committed to celluloid and voila. Like a good bartender, the filmmakers know all they needed to do was put together the right ingredients, stand back and let the concoction do it's thing.
One last thing; JB's performance was surprisingly reserved and surprisingly good. Aside from a few moments where he cuts loose, he basically plays the role as a shy, quiet dreamer with a really believable Mexican accent, running circles around Rod Steiger's "Duck You Sucker!" performance. He definitely took some time and effort to learn his Espanol as well. I was mucho impressed.