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Volume 71, Issue 146, Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Life & Arts

Black continues success in 'Nacho'


Nacho Libre stars Jack Black in a comedy about a priestly assistant who has been an in-the-closet lucha libre -- Mexican wrestling -- fan since he was a kid. 

Nacho never fit in growing up in a monastery. As an adult, he is forced to fulfill his priestly duty as orphanage cook where, because of the lack of good ingredients, his food is terrible. Other less than desirable jobs include visiting people on their deathbeds. 

Black manages to pull off the eccentric and comical character of Nacho effortlessly as he shows off his Spanish speaking ability surrounded by an entire crew of Mexican and Latino actors. Writer and director Jared Hess of Napoleon Dynamite fame held open casting calls in Oaxaca, Mexico, to find the supporting actors and extras needed for the movie.

One night after picking up the usual leftover nacho chips for the niño's breakfast, Nacho is attacked by a hungry street thief in the dark alley behind a restaurant. After losing the fight and the chips, Nacho decides he will fulfill his dream of becoming a luchador (Mexican wrestler) in hopes of gaining the respect and luxurious lifestyle that comes with being a professional fighter. 

He bribes the street thief, later known as Esqueleto (the skeleton), portrayed by actor Hector Jimenez, into teaming up with him for a coming wrestling match. After losing terribly, his dreams are crushed until he realizes it still pays off to be a loser so long as you amuse fans of Mexican wrestling. 

With his share of the money Nacho, remains true to his responsibility to the orphans and buys better ingredients to prepare their food. He also gets himself a new outfit with tight pants to impress Sister Incarnacion, a new member of the monastery, for whom his infatuation grows throughout the film. 

Nacho and Esqueleto continue to subject themselves to the humiliating fights in which they always end up losing. It's amusing to see the two get beat up by a wide array of Mexican wrestlers, including a pair of dwarfs and a pair of lady fighters.

Even though Nacho is a lousy fighter, his most difficult struggle throughout the movie is to conceal his identity from the church, as professional fighting is forbidden at the monastery. 

As if Black's character isn't funny enough, Nacho's aqua and red spandex get-up is sure to get a few laughs from audiences. 

Black seems to have found his comedic niche in working with kids as in his 2003 comedy School of Rock where he pretends to be a substitute teacher to accomplish his dream of becoming a rock star. 

Nacho Libre proves this basic formula can be repeated.

Nacho Libre

Rated: PG for crude humor
Starring: Jack Black, Hector Jiminez, Ana de la Reguera, Richard Montoya
Paramount Pictures

Verdict: It's not just for the niños.

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