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Nacho Libre
Jack Black as a man of God in the wrestling ring.
Nacho Libre
Jack Black in the Comedy "Nacho Libre".
OPENING WEEKEND: $34,000,000
DOMESTIC TOTAL: $138,000,000
OTHER PREVIEWS: Alatriste (7/10)
  This Film is NOT a Future Release.
  The Following Preview has been Archived.

January 21st, 2006: Jack Black stars as a Mexican priest named Nacho, who is infatuated with lucha libre, a Mexican form of wrestling. When monetary problems threaten to close down a local orphanage where Nacho was raised, he is motivated to take action. To prevent the underprivileged children from becoming homeless and impress a new nun (Ana de la Reguera) in the process, he enters a local lucha libre tournament hoping to make money. All along, he is forced to keep his identity a secret to avoid embarrassment and backlash from his church.

What to Expect: Three innovative entertainers, Jared Hess, Mike White, and Jack Black, with similarly quirky sensibilities have come together to make Nacho Libre. The writer-director Jared Hess made a major impact in 2004 with his debut film, Napoleon Dynamite. The independent comedy, which was made for under $500,000, went on to gross over $40 million in the theaters due to a generous word-of-mouth buzz that continued to help the movie after it was released on DVD. Napoleon Dynamite focused on the cheesy and the bizarre and featured the biggest loser ever imagined as the protagonist. With its deadpan tone and eerily hopeless characters, it was an original and delightful surprise. Mike White, who has a similar historical fondness for the inane, collaborated on the screenplay for Nacho Libre with Jared Hess and his brother Jerusha. White’s relationship with director Miguel Arteta resulted in two independent hits, Chuck&Buck and The Good Girl. Both films featured a bittersweet blend of offbeat comedy and poignant drama. The latter effectively transformed Jennifer Aniston from a high profile star to a noteworthy actress capable of delivering a wonderfully understated performance. His previous and most successful film, the engaging and witty School of Rock, brought White together for the second time with Jack Black. The hyperactive comedian had a long history of odd supporting roles before the Farrelly brothers turned him into a star. It’s true that some find his eccentric mannerisms purely annoying, but I find him to be a refreshing presence. I can’t quite explain it, but to me, his outrageous behavior still retains some subtlety. It’s almost as if though Black is winking at the audience as he acts out.

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Between the three of them, I expect a terrific screenplay and a slew of interesting ideas. Like Napoleon Dynamite, Nacho Libre should feature a lot of dry humor, but it’s impossible to imagine the mustached Jack Black in mask and tights, without his trademark physical comedy. Jared Hess had a strange little scene in Napoleon Dynamite that took place in a chicken coop, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he’ll similarly utilize any odd customs or locations that rural Mexico will have to offer. Certainly, the film should exude a different atmosphere from typical comedies. Looking deeper into the cast, Peter Stormare and Efren Ramirez stand out in supporting roles. Stormare is famous for his thickly accented volatile characters like the quiet kidnapper in Fargo or the German nihilist in The Big Lebowski. Ramirez, on the other hand, returns to work with Hess once again after playing the subdued and nearly mute Pedro in Napoleon Dynamite. Both actors should create colorful characters that will fit well in the mix.

In Conclusion: The talents involved have numerous unconventional hits between them so a comedy with a plot as outrageous as this should be terrific knowing it’s in the right hands. With a bigger budget, a great screenwriter, and stars to boot, Hess should be able to create another hip, irreverent classic. And I gleefully anticipate the chubby Jack Black as a priest in the wrestling ring. Once this comedy starts getting widely advertised it should create some legitimate interest and anticipation.

Update: Efren Ramirez no longer stars in the movie.

Similar Titles:
June 16th, 2006 (wide)
October 24th, 2006 (DVD)

Paramount Pictures

Jared Hess

Jack Black, Ana de la Reguera, Peter Stormare, Richard Montoya, Carla Jimenez, Héctor Jiménez

Total: 38 vote(s).


Click here to view site

Rated PG for some rough action, and crude humor including dialogue.

100 min






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