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PARAMOUNT

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Jared Hess
Cast:
Jack Black, Ana de la Reguera, Héctor Jiménez, Darius Rose, Moises Arias, Eduardo Gómez, Carlos Maycotte, Richard Montoya, Cesar Gonzalez
Writing Credits:
Jared Hess, Jerusha Hess, Mike White

Synopsis:
Jack Black is at his comic best as Ignacio, a disrespected cook at a Mexican monastery that can barely afford to feed the orphans who live there. Inspired by a local wrestling hero, he decides to moonlight as the not-so-famous Luchador "Nacho Libre" to earn money for the monastery - not to mention the admiration of beautiful nun Sister Encarnacion.

Box Office:
Budget
$32 million.
Opening Weekend
$28.309 million on 3070 screens.
Domestic Gross
$80.197 million.

MPAA:
Rated PG

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 1.85:1/16x9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English Dolby Surround 2.0
French Dolby Surround 2.0
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned

Runtime: 92 min.
Price: $29.99
Release Date: 10/24/2006

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Director Jared Hess, Actor Jack Black and Writer Mike White
• “Detras de la Camara” Featurette
• “Jack Black Unmasked!” Featurette
• “Lucha Libre” Featurette
• “Heche en Mexico” Featurette
• Moviefone Unscripted with Jack Black and Hector Jimenez
• “Jack Sings”
• Deleted Scenes
• Promo Spots
• Photo Gallery


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EQUIPMENT
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RELATED REVIEWS


Nacho Libre: Special Collector's Edition (2006)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 13, 2006)

Let’s see… we have a movie with a director whose only prior credit was Napoleon Dynamite, a flick I openly loathed. It stars Jack Black, an actor who I find mildly entertaining at best and actively annoying at worst. This new film also works with a premise that sounds moronic. So why in the world am I watching 2006’s Nacho Libre? Slow day in DVD land and nothing better on my plate!

Black plays Ignacio, the cook at the monastery where he grew up as an orphan. As a child, he dreamed of becoming a “Luchador”, a pro wrestler. He planned to use his nickname “Nacho” and as an adult, he maintains these fantasies.

In the meantime, a new teacher arrives at the school. Due to her beauty, Sister Encarnacion (Ana de la Reguera) causes friction there and Ignacio develops a serious crush on her. However, he gets fed up with the lack of respect the brothers at the monastery accord him and decides to find another way to redeem himself.

This means Ignacio will finally pursue his Luchador dreams. He recruits a skinny street bandit named Steven (Hector Jimenez) to be his partner, and the pair christens themselves “Nacho” and “The Esqueleto”. Though they lose their match, they prove popular with the crowd and get another bout the following week. The rest of the movie follows their work as Luchadors and how Ignacio fits this into other aspects of his life.

Here’s how to decide if you’ll enjoy Nacho: do you enjoy the sight of an obese comic actor without a shirt? If you answer “yes”, then you’ll love the film. If you reply “no”, then you’re in for a long night.

Since I can imagine few sights less appealing than a scantily-clad Jack Black, I found it tough to take Nacho. Man, do we see a lot of him without much in the way of clothes. An absence of attire was great for The Notorious Bettie Page but not such a good thing here.

With his tendency toward broad slapstick, Black doesn’t seem like a good fit for the painfully understated humor preferred by director Jared Hess. Half the jokes seem to revolve around Black’s pudgy physique. Either he goes around shirtless or sports clothes too tight for him – it’s like a 90-minute riff on “fat guy in a little coat” from Tommy Boy.

Hess tries to meld Black’s wilder sense of humor with his own preference for low-key whimsy, and it doesn’t work at all. Granted, I didn’t think the barely-there gags of Napoleon were amusing, but at least that flick maintained its own sense of identity. Nacho never attains the same state of coherence as it uneasily balances the two sides.

The characters can’t even keep up any internal consistency. This means that Nacho himself tends to break character at times with awkward lines such as “buttload of crap”. That sounds like Black – or someone from Napoleon Dynamite - but the line doesn’t fit with Nacho as already established.

Not that the movie tries too hard to create three-dimensional – or even two-dimensional – personalities. Character development is less than nil. We get basic sketches for the roles and nothing more. Even Nacho himself is extremely underdeveloped, and he’s the best evolved of the bunch. The rest exist as nothing more than thin plot devices; they never turn into anything other than one-dimensional sketches.

Nacho feels like a really stupid version of the kind of movie Wes Anderson does. Anderson’s flicks walk a fine line between clever and too precious, but they usually stay on the right side of that line. With less talent involved, Nacho falters consistently. It forces it premise and characters upon us with no sense of intelligence or cleverness.

All that, and it’s glacially paced as well! Nacho Libre just plods along with its inane forced wackiness. Like Napoleon, this one might have worked okay as a short TV skit, but as a full-length movie, it falters. There’s just not enough to carry it for 90 minutes, and the film never produces anything remotely entertaining or amusing. Chalk up Nacho as another stinker from Jared Hess.


The DVD Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus B-

Nacho Libre appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Not too many concerns came along with this solid transfer.

Actually, my main minor complaints connected to sharpness. A few shots seemed a little soft and lacked great definition. However, those were rare instances, as the majority of the flick looked nicely detailed and accurate. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering emerged, and I noticed no edge enhancement either. Print flaws were minimal. I noticed a couple of specks but no other problems along the way.

Nacho went with a lightly stylized palette that favored a warm golden tone. This favored deep browns and reds as it produced a rich, vivid set of colors. Blacks were dark and dense, while shadows seemed appropriately concise and well-defined. This was a consistently satisfying transfer.

I can’t say I expected a lot of sonic fireworks from the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Nacho Libre, and the mix stayed within the fairly laid-back constraints I anticipated. The forward speakers dominated and usually focused on music. The score and songs offered good stereo definition, while the effects concentrated on general atmosphere. Those elements added a nice sense of place, and they opened up a bit during the wrestling scenes. However, don’t expect much from them, especially in regard to the surrounds. The back speakers didn’t play much of a role in the proceedings.

Audio quality was perfectly adequate. Music fared best, as both score and songs demonstrated nice life and vivacity. Speech was consistently natural and distinctive, as the lines never suffered from edginess or other problems. Effects showed good accuracy as well. They were clean and clear throughout the movie. This was an unspectacular mix but it suited the material.

As we move to the set’s extras, we start with an audio commentary from director Jared Hess, actor Jack Black and writer Mike White. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific discussion. Actually, the DVD bills this as "dinner and a commentary", so you know to expect something unusual here.

Not that this choice produces anything interesting. Instead, it just acts as an occasional annoyance as we hear the guys chomp on their Mexican food. They discuss locations, actors, the wrestling scenes, and general anecdotes. Good information pops up infrequently, as they usually do little more than laugh at the movie and talk about what they like about it; the word "rad" appears often in regard to the action. Occasional dead air also slows down the piece. Though Black’s goofiness produces a few chuckles, this is a generally boring commentary that lacks insight or much entertainment value.

From there we move to four separate featurettes. Detras de la Camara goes for 28 minutes, 32 seconds as it mixes shots from the production, and interviews. We hear from Hess, Black, White, producer Julia Pistor, co-writer Jerusha Hess, hair and makeup artist Roz Music, and actors Peter Stormare, Ana de la Reguera and Hector Jimenez. The show covers the development of the project and how Hess came onboard after Napoleon Dynamite, and general production notes.

The interviews all come from the set and they play a minor role here. Instead, "Camara" emphasizes footage from the shoot. We get a good look at the production as we visit various elements as they occur. This means that although we don’t learn a ton about different decisions, we find a lot of fun material that gives us a nice backstage glimpse of matters.

Next comes Jack Black Unmasked!. Originally aired on Nickelodeon, this 12-minute and 37-second featurette mostly lets us see Black’s antics during the shoot. However, it also presents a quick history of Lucha Libre, and we see other aspects of the production. A lighter than air piece aimed at kids, "Unmasked" provides some decent glimpses of the shoot, but its heavily promotional nature makes it less than stellar.

Lucha Libre lasts three minutes, 14 seconds and gives us a few general notes about Mexican wrestling. We hear the thoughts of a few cast and crewmembers as we watch shots of the matches staged for the movie. If there’s a real point to this, I can’t figure out what it is. The quick featurette doesn’t tell us anything useful, really.

Finally, Hecho en Mexico runs two minutes, 27 seconds as it gives us some very brief notes about shooting in Mexico. These stay fluffy and general, so they don’t offer any good nuggets of information. This is another pointless program.

During the nine-minute and 12-second Moviefone Unscripted with Jack Black and Hector Jimenez, the pair interview each other and ask questions submitted by viewers. They discuss issues related to shooting with each other, training for the wrestling, various production and performance specifics, filming in Mexico, and a few other general notes. Though nothing fascinating emerges, we get a few fun tidbits in this enjoyable piece.

For some musical content, we go to Jack Sings. This six-minute and 18-second segment includes two songs: "La Cancion de Ramses" and "La Cancion de Encarnacion". These feature rehearsal shots of Black as he runs through the tunes. That makes the clips more interesting than expected and a nice little addition.

Three Deleted Scenes fill a total of nine minutes, 32 seconds. These include "The Way of the Eagle" (7:57), "Poem for Ramses" (0:42) and "Ramses Gets Jumped" (0:53). Obvious "Eagle" presents the most substantial of the new clips. It gives us an alternate introduction to the mentor played by Peter Stormare. It’s too long, too lame and not necessary. "Poem" gives us a little more of the fat girl with a thing for Steven, while "Jumped" just shows a street fight that involves the wrestler. Neither adds anything.

Promo Spots features three ads that run a total of 97 seconds. These are simple TV commercials, though they occasionally become a little more clever than usual. We also get an El Tigre Promo Spot that touts the animated series.

Lastly, we get a Photo Gallery. This breaks down into three categories: "On Set" (55 shots), "Luchadores" (53) and "Nacho Especial" (41). If I never see a shot of Jack Black’s doughy shirtless body, it’ll be too soon. That’s mostly what you see here, so don’t expect anything interesting – or to keep down your lunch.

The DVD opens with some Previews. We find ads for Flushed Away, Barnyard, Mission: Impossible 3, An Inconvenient Truth and Over the Hedge.

Despite my dislike of Napoleon Dynamite, I gave its director a second change with Nacho Libre. Fool me twice – shame on me. Like its predecessor, Nacho suffers from too little humor and too many scenes of forced whimsy and wackiness. None of this amuses or entertains. The DVD provides very good picture quality along with perfectly acceptable audio and a mix of decent extras. I can’t complain about the DVD itself, but the movie is a complete waste of time.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.6923 Stars Number of Votes: 13
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main