Nacho Libre (12A)



Comedy (2006)
92mins US

Starring: Jack Black, Ana de la Reguera, Hector Jimenez
Director: Jared Hess
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

Ignacio works as a cook in an orphanage where he serves up unpalatable slop masquerading as nourishing food to the poor orphans. Unfortunately, the brotherhood does not have any money to pay for fresh ingredients and so the children have to suffer in silence. Moved by the plight of the little ones, Nacho concocts a simple plan to raise more money: to realise his childhood dream and become his wrestling alter ego Nacho Libre, taking on all comers with his tag-team partner Esqueleto - The Skeleton.

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LondonNet Film Review

Nacho Libre

Click here to watch the trailer

The geek shall inherit the Earth. In their debut feature Napoleon Dynamite, husband and wife screenwriting team Jared and Jerusha Hess crafted a delightfully quirky coming of age story about a socially awkward misfit's ill-fated attempt to campaign for high school class president.

Nacho Libre. TM & Copyright  2006 by Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved Directed by Jared, the film was beautifully observed, threaded with surreal moments of comic genius and a genuine affection for the dysfunctional characters.

For their eagerly awaited follow-up, the couple collaborates with screenwriter Mike White (The School Of Rock) on a truly unique tale of sporting ambition, focused on another misunderstood soul: a kind-hearted half-Mexican, half-Scandinavian monk with a secret passion for Lucha Libre wrestling.

Jack Black, the one-man comic dynamo, squeezes himself into lycra to inhabit the title role of Nacho, including a series of brilliantly orchestrated fights in the ring. Belly laughs are in short supply and the pacing is rather pedestrian, so the film is frequently on the ropes.

However, the leading man's zany, over-the-top theatrics, including no less than two songs delivered in a cod Mexican accent, piledrive us into submission. Ignacio (Black) works as a cook in a backwater Mexican monastery where he serves up unpalatable slop masquerading as nourishing food to the poor orphans.

Unfortunately, the brotherhood does not have any money to pay for fresh ingredients and so the children have to suffer Ignacio's turgid bean stew and stale corn chips day after day... after day. Moved by the plight of the little ones, Nacho concocts a simple plan to raise more money: to realise his childhood dream and become his a wrestler, taking on all comers with his tag-team partner Esqueleto - The Skeleton (Hector Jimenez).


Unfortunately, the Church frowns upon the flashy sport and Nacho has to conceal his secret life. So when one of the youngsters, Chancho (Darius Rose), catches him in his homemade costume, Nacho is compelled to explain: "When you are a man, sometimes you wear stretchy pants in your room... it's for fun".

Nacho and Esqueleto certainly don't lack enthusiasm but they fail to beat a single opponent in the ring. When a local promoter tempts the wannabe wrestlers with the prospect of a showdown fight against formidable champion Ramses (Cesar Gonzalez), they decide to train hard for the bout of their lives.

In the process, Nacho just might impress the love of his life, the chaste Sister Encarnacion (Ana de la Reguera), and outwit his sworn monastery rival, Guillermo (Richard Montoya). Black flings himself into the role with gusto, charming us with his outrageous posturing and tomfoolery.

Nacho and Esqueleto's ill-fated bout with midget twins in lion costumes, who growl as they fling the amateur wrestler around the ring, is a highlight. The screenplay ambles along, punctuated by the fights, including a gentle romantic subplot for Ignacio and the virtuous Encarnacion.

Sophie Abell

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Rest of UK and Irish Cinemas

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