Movie Review: Nacho Libre (2006)

Starring: Jack Black, Ana de la Reguera and Hector Jiminez

Directed by: Jared Hess

Nacho is a monastery cook who spends his life feeding orphans while being overlooked and looked down upon by the monastery. He’s always been a fan of wrestling and since the arrival of Sister Encarnacion at the monastery he thinks the only way to win her love is to show he can fight by competing as a Luchador wrestler.

I’m not quite sure how I missed this movie when it initially got released as it stars funnyman Jack Black who I’ve always enjoyed watching and it centres around the sport of wrestling which I have loved since childhood. But somehow I allowed Nacho Libre to elude me for 12 years now which has been surprising as quite a number of my friends have said how good it is. So last night, after it had been sitting by the DVD player for a number of weeks it was time to finally give it a whirl.

Jack Black stars as Nacho, who started off as an orphan himself before becoming the monastery’s cook where all he cares about are the kids until Sister Encarnacion arrives at the monastery. Being a luchador wrestling has always been an ambition of Nacho’s but after laying eyes on Encarnacion he has the burning desire to get in the ring to in a bid to win her over by showing he can protect her. After finding a tag team partner Nacho sets his sights on defeating his hero and Mexico’s number 1 Luchador, Ramses.

Jack Black was largely playing himself as he tends to play the same kind of character in most of his movies, which I just feel is an off shoot of his own personality, the only difference in his performance as Nacho is that he speaks with a Mexican accent, or at least attempts to. Nacho Libre is a silly film which relies heavily on cheap laughs rather clever writing in order to get a couple of laughs which was a little disappointing. Although I did fall victim to chuckling at some of the cheap jokes, a large portion of them fell completely flat. Jack Black didn’t really receive much help from the rest of the cast either as the comedy rested heavily on his shoulders and his shoulders alone with nobody able to take some of that pressure off of him.

Another problem I had with this movie was the lack of choreography in the wrestling. While some moves performed did look pretty decent, a large portion of the wrestling looked ridiculous and stupid and with the comedy failing to provide as many laughs as I thought it would the least they could’ve done was put a little more effort to make the wrestling side of the story look good and feel authentic. While I do have quite a lot of negatives points to say regarding Nacho Libre I did like the orphans and Nacho’s relationship with them. It was quite heartwarming that Nacho was willing to do anything to try and make their lives a little better and as this story is based on the true story of Fray Tormenta it was quite nice to watch it play out.

Overall, Nacho Libre was quite disappointing and was not the movie I was expecting or hoping for. It sort have reminded me of Napoleon Dynamite which again came highly recommended but was just weird and cheap. Definitely a Jack Black movie to avoid.


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