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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Review: Nacho Libre

Nacho Libre is a 2006 comedy sports film, loosely based on the story of Sergio Gutiérrez Benítez, a monk who fought as a luchador to support his orphanage. Starring Jack Black as the titular character, this film tells the tale of Ignacio "Nacho", a cook at a Mexican Catholic orphanage who teams up with a thief named Steven to fight in the arena as a masked luchador, in order to secure funds to buy food for his orphanage.

Alright, I'll be honest. This movie is... lowbrow, to say the least. But was really kills it is that it had a lot of potential to be great. This movie is from the director of Napoleon Dynamite, and stars comedic mainstay Jack Black. It even copies the food dish opening credits from that film. What could have been a cleverly made, laugh out loud comedy devolves into an aimless, run-of-the-mill underdog sports movie. And really, it barely is a sports movie, spending only a minimal amount of time in the luchador setting, focusing more on bizarre, unrelated incidents than on any central plot. A lot of the jokes involve crude humor or soulless slapstick, begging for laughs. Another annoying thing about this film is that some of the dialogue is in Spanish, which might throw some viewers off.

However, I'll give the film credit for giving good chemistry between Nacho and the leading lady, Sister Encarnación (Ana de la Reguera). Their romance is chaste and clean, but also rather sweet. I also praise the film for offering a view of Christianity that isn't extremely warped and unflattering. Nacho, in that regard, is a credit to his order.

But in the end, Nacho Libre is still a lowbrow comedy film gone horribly wrong. It might be entertaining to younger audiences, but it is by no means even a fairly good film.

RATING: 6.5/10

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