There's a pretty simple test as to whether you'd enjoy Nacho Libre or not. Two questions: Did you like Napoleon Dynamite? Do you typically like Jack Black?
If the answer to either question is no, than you can safely pass on Nacho. But if you appreciate the random quirkiness of Napoleon and the zany, melodramatic and overacted comedy of Black, welcome to a comedic goldmine. From the writers of Napoleon (Jared & Jerusha Hess) and School of Rock (Mike White) and the director of Napoleon (Jared Hess), this goofy comedy is much more like that Idaho-based surprise hit in tone and feel than the commercials let on. And while the irreverent wrestling comedy is laugh-out-loud funny and humorously surprising several times, it could have used more of Napoleon's simple likeability and School of Rock's heart.
The film's best parts come from Black's earnest delivery and the traits it shares with Napoleon, like its look and cinematography (even though set in Mexico and not Idaho) and reliance on strange but fitting music. And like Dynamite, this film has plenty of well-delivered and fun-to-repeat one-liners that will be quoted again and again—lines like, "Beneath a man … is his nucleus." Jokes score by relying on wry observation, small details, slow pacing, and simplicity. And perhaps the Hesses' greatest strength is their fascination with the mundane, awkward and bizarre realness of life. Strange-looking characters don't always know what to say and either stare with hilarious facial expressions or nervously stumble through sentences like, "Anyways, I thought you'd like to join me in my quarters this night … for some toast."
Watching (and hearing) two awkward and teen-like adults sitting in a tiny room loudly crunching ...1
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