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11 reviews, 63 user ratings

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Nacho Libre
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by Todd LaPlace

"La película peor siempre."
1 stars

I get the impression that the minds behind “Nacho Libre” never quite decided whether they were making a movie for kids or adults. Produced by Nickelodeon Pictures, it embraces the juvenile antics that would only appeal to tween boys and no one else. But then again, one of the writers is the mastermind behind “Chuck and Buck,” which is considerably less juvenile (notice the rhyme scheme in the name? Let’s just say those aren’t the only words that fit). While the tone may be adolescent, the film itself isn’t nearly light and punchy enough to entertain kids for longer than five minutes. The filmmakers never decided what they were making, but I have; the biggest bomb of 2006.

During my screening of “Nacho Libre,” I was mentally composing the lead to this review and each sentence and paragraph was some variation of the notion that the Jared Hess film was the single worst movie I had ever seen. Whether it was most strongly sparked by the beehive-throwing, poo-smearing, tight-panted training sequence or when Brother Ignacio (Jack Black) attempted to pick up a nun by squeezing together his butt cheeks while wearing stretchy pants, I’m not entirely sure; there are simply too many asinine parts to single out just one. But in spite of myself, I found myself chuckling once and only once, just before the final act — Nacho sings an original song about his nun crush prior to a wrestling match — which negated all of my hard work. No, “Nacho Libre” is not the worst movie I’ve ever seen; it’s merely in the top five.

In its smallest nugget of plot, the picture has some strong potential. Ignacio, a friar and cook at a Mexican orphanage, is a man of God during the day and moonlights as the luchador Nacho after sneaking away from the more traditional brothers at night. But for all the promise, the film never quite delivers. I suspect much of the problem can be linked back to the decision to hire a Mormon to make a gross out comedy. Traditionally a group known for their devout and conservative beliefs, the Mormon’s most recent association with Hollywood seems to be their patronage of CleanFlicks, a Utah-based company that edits objectionable material out of mainstream movies. In fact, many Elders in the church advise members avoid all movies rated R or worse, which makes the juvenile nature of the PG “Nacho Libre” less of a surprise. Hess’s first feature, “Napoleon Dynamite,” was just offbeat enough to be funny (or so I’ve been told by its numerous fans), but the gross-out genre is a little too exotic (i.e. disgustingly puerile) for someone so conservative. In a world where semen hair gel is SO 8 years ago, when a movie’s worst offenses are fart jokes, foot spitting and atomic wedgies, it’s simply asking for trouble.

The immaturity of the script (written by Jared with wife Jerusha Hess and Mike White) doesn’t come as much of a surprise. The film opens on shots of action figures and tighty-whitey underwear, which immediate sets the juvenile tone. Like “Napoleon Dynamite” before it, the film attempts to find comedy with obtuse segments, but nothing ever quite works. When Ignacio falls for Sister Encarnacion (a stiff Ana de la Reguera), he attempts to woo her by inviting her back to his room for toast. Sure, the invitation and subsequent image of the pair sitting across from each other munching on dry bread are oddly amusing, but far from funny. The same is true when an unkempt Peter Stormare (recently of Volkswagen commercial fame) advises Ignacio to drink the yolk of an eagle’s egg in order to gain superior wrestling skills. The friar climbs a cliff, cracks open the egg (with much of it landing on his robe), farts and falls into the water. It’s a lengthy sequence for such a miniscule payoff and there are dozens more just like it — Ignacio performing last rites on a man that’s still alive, Ignacio singing in a Mariachi band at the home of the greatest luchador in town, Ignacio’s wrestling partner Esquelto (Hector Jimenez) being unconventionally romanced by said wrestler’s plump daughter. The film is so full of these disjointed moments that it’s hard to follow any kind of narrative thread. If the humor’s not organic, it simply doesn’t work.

It’s so easy to laundry list problems that it actually makes assigning blame more difficult. Black once again exudes his patented goofy likeability and seems to actually relish leaping around in tight spandex pants while constantly talking about how stretchy they are. It’s a thankless role that would have bombed in the hands of a lesser actor, so Black actually deserves credit for surviving this debacle more or less unscathed. Co-writer White, who previously collaborated with Black in the highly enjoyable “School of Rock” and the considerably worse “Orange County,” doesn’t get off so easy, based on his largely hit-or-miss writing track record. Not even “The Good Girl” can erase the sting of having his name attached to “Dead Man on Campus.” He’s got the talent for writing, just not the foresight to attach himself to better directors. My dislike of “Dynamite” aside — I swear to god, I just don’t get it — I still have to place to blame on Hess, because just like his earlier film, he doesn’t have the skill to polish his films. In addition to lacking a sorely missed cohesion, Hess makes odd post-production choices. When Ignacio does a cat-like leap at two would-be muggers (again, to impress his nun), the soundtrack actually features a cat yelp. Either there’s an invisible cat with impeccable timing lurking about, or Hess is regressing to inappropriate Casio keyboard sound effects. The scene plays more like a mediocre amateur spoof viral video than a Hollywood feature. He’s still simply too green to be working on this level.

During much of the movie, I half expected to hear Hess pulling a Bob Saget and consistently comment on how funny everything was supposed to be. “It’s funny because Nacho and Esquelto are getting their behinds handed to them in the ring by two hairy dwarfs. You see, they’re small, but vicious. Comic gold!” Hess definitely shows promise, but I think he’s working in the wrong genre. Instead of churning out beloved indie dramas (where his sense of humor and storytelling techniques would probably be embraced), he’s simply making the cinematic equivalent of a man getting hit in the groin by a football. It’s cheap, it’s shallow, it’s not very amusing and it leaves us all feeling dirty when it’s over.

If I have offended any Mormons in my review, I sincerely apologize, but knowing the church’s views on vulgar movies, I have to question the wisdom of Hess working in a genre that’s typically rated R. “Nacho Libre” certainly isn’t very offensive. It’s just bad.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=14549&reviewer=401
originally posted: 11/01/06 13:17:41
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 CineVegas Film Festival For more in the 2006 CineVegas Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

12/16/18 Ajp wales A good movie. Just fun. 4 stars
8/27/11 Jennifer We love Jack Black and this is one movie my kids love to watch. Silly but awfully funny. 5 stars
11/21/10 DaveY The silliness is fun- Jack,Hector & Darius r great & Ana is gorgeous - I luv the soundtrak 4 stars
1/25/09 Robert O'Keife David is just using the internet to vent because he is insecure about his small penis 1 stars
1/09/09 Samantha Pruitt pretty funny, very ridiculous! lot of awkward moments, 4 stars
12/02/07 Screwball The best movie I've seen about Mexican wrestling. 4 stars
10/19/07 Lynn "Get that corn outa my face!!!!" - The one and only funny line in the whole entire movie 2 stars
7/24/07 frito-laid i want my two hours! 1 stars
6/30/07 Mehmet Unal Boring and totally devoid of anything resembling wit or humour 1 stars
5/18/07 David Pollastrini PRETTY DUMB 3 stars
5/17/07 ES I wanted to like this movie but with two times watching and not making it too the end... 2 stars
1/26/07 diego Alvarez If david thinks this movie is dull, he must have no sense of humor and he is really lame 5 stars
1/22/07 Dave Hilarious movie, David just doesn't get it (or Napoleon Dynamite) 4 stars
1/11/07 rozza david cornelisu is a cunt!! its a minter of a film so is dynamite!! 5 stars
1/05/07 jack diy "or how a large percentage of Mexicans are retarded" ...what tha fuck? fuck you david 1 stars
12/24/06 11pop It's a piece of crap 1 stars
12/05/06 maggie truly dreadful piece of filmmaking 1 stars
12/03/06 Carson I nominate david cornelius for biggest douche in the universe, and this movie was great 5 stars
11/16/06 George The only way to describe this movie is STUPID, but its so stupid that you have to laugh!!! 5 stars
11/16/06 Paul lots of memorable moments, if you`re lookinf for Casablanca go elsewhere 4 stars
11/10/06 surfric I'm a JB fan, but this is strictly a time killer. Laughed maybe twice. 3 stars
11/10/06 DIANA there were some funny moments, not a lot but some 3 stars
11/09/06 Dan Relax, stop being so high brow. It's a classic. 5 stars
11/08/06 Babz I had a good laugh. 3 stars
11/07/06 Derek Just right 5 stars
10/31/06 Mike Really really funny! A breath of fresh air. Laughed my balls off all the way through! 5 stars
10/31/06 ad fresh 4 stars
10/30/06 Bundy Ok, seriously this movie was pretty funny, and David Cornelius is an assfuck. 5 stars
10/30/06 Ryan_A Laughed once - the corncob to the eye bit. Other than that, surprisingly unfunny. 2 stars
10/30/06 ES Ho-hum, almost not worth the watch but it passes time, I guess 3 stars
10/29/06 Roy Smith I might consult a lawyer - this was advertised as a Comedy. 1 stars
8/27/06 Barry Norman what a load of bollcks, jack black must have a movie deal to do this shite 1 stars
8/09/06 Dragon The Artist An ownable Jack Black comedy,about as good as Nepolian Dynamite.Both cult classic-ish 5 stars
8/06/06 Erik Van Sant I wanted to love this movie. Regrettably, it sucked big, floppy donkey dicks. 2 stars
7/25/06 Alex Paquin Unbearably offensive, hispanophobic, and not at all funny. A waste of Jack Black's talent. 1 stars
7/18/06 Marjorie The jokes were puerile and his fat gut was repulsive. 2 stars
7/12/06 Captain Highcrime The least they could have done is pass out some Taco Bell...lost it's comic punch quick 2 stars
7/08/06 Mike Awesome movie - well crafted. Seaver's Review - also Awesome! 5 stars
7/08/06 Edler Hilarious part of the goofy comedy genre. But if you don't know Mexico, you won't get it. 5 stars
7/02/06 Heather Weak movie, wait until the DVD comes out and rent it instead 3 stars
6/30/06 Gerry Irons Too silly and long on one joke -with no wit or substance 2 stars
6/29/06 Mike (of Mike & the MORONS) Great! Lots to laugh at, and great (though odd) soundtrack. 4 stars
6/26/06 Mase Like a long bad snl skit, with Black trapped in the role and a PG rating. 2 stars
6/25/06 verdesage this movie is great and completely worth seeing! theres nothing not to like about it! 5 stars
6/24/06 pin What's with Hess and food shots? Nice pacing, Black was hilarious. 4 stars
6/24/06 ELLY the best 1 stars
6/22/06 Caiphn You people are clearly retarded. 1 stars
6/21/06 Tommy The worst movie I have ever seen bar none 1 stars
6/19/06 pedro painful 2 stars
6/19/06 jitters So, good-natured, pleasant and simple are bad things? I loved it. Viva Nacho! 4 stars
6/19/06 earlrural About as good as I expected. Much more Hollywood than Napoleon Dynamite. 4 stars
6/18/06 John Aster Habig Jack Black carries the film through Hess's slow pace and keeps the laughs constant 5 stars
6/18/06 Darius Silly plot, yes; unbelievable, yes; hilarious, yes; Hector Jimenez, fantastic 5 stars
6/18/06 Kell Dixon Nacho liber was the worst movie I have paid to see in a long time. The end 1 stars
6/18/06 lee Great attention to detail!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
6/17/06 Stacy Started out kind of slow for me, but definitely worth seeing. 4 stars
6/17/06 nachooo JB was AWESOME in this role. the movie was laugh out loud funny for about 90% of the time. 5 stars
6/17/06 Evil Wolfie At least its better then Napolion Dynamite. 3 stars
6/16/06 KingNeutron Wrestling was good; rest of the movie needed a REAL DIRECTOR + EDITING. JB's worst effort. 2 stars
6/07/06 CJ Payne very funny ,good date movie. 5 stars
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  16-Jun-2006 (PG)
  DVD: 24-Oct-2006



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