In Nacho Libre, Jack Black has turned himself into a sight gag. His hair permed, a mustache crawling across his upper lip, he cavorts about the screen in one of the most ludicrous outfits since Howard Stern fouled the air as Fartman. ThereÃ??s a pair of stretchy pants, over which BlackÃ??s capacious gut pours like lava. ThereÃ??s a cape, for that superhero je ne sais quoi. And thereÃ??s a cover-the-entire-head mask that makes him look like an escapee from a bondage-and-discipline convention. But if that still isnÃ??t enough to get you rolling in the aisles, throw in a dirt-cheap Mexican accent, which Black wields like a weapon, slaying the audience before itÃ??s had a chance to ask whether any of this is working. Oh, and a brief look at BlackÃ??s butt cleavage. Chris Farley, where are you when we need you?
With his ability to disappear into that fat-guy persona, Farley might have made something out of Ignacio (Spanish for Ã??ignoramusÃ???), a Scandinavian-Mexican friar/cook who longs to be a luchador, which is like our professional wrestlers, only even less professional. And Black certainly has his moments, as when he launches into a mariachi serenade straight out of the Tenacious D Songbook. But the movie seems to think itÃ??s amusing enough to watch him get clobbered, in and out of the ring, by a succession of midgets, giants and every size in between. Determined to make it in a field for which he seems supremely unqualified, Ignacio keeps coming back for more, accompanied by his string-bean tag-team partner, Esqueleto (HÃ?ctor JimÃ?nez). And thatÃ??s pretty much it for plot.
Director and co-scriptwriter Jared Hess got by with even less plot in his first movie, Napoleon Dynamite, which alerted an entire generation to the pleasures of Tater Tots. But Jon HederÃ??s Napoleon, a geekÃ??s geek who refused to hide under the bleachers all day, seemed like the real deal Ã?' that guy who sat next to you in math class, drawing pictures of unicorns. Whereas BlackÃ??s Ignacio seems a little forced, willfully funny. The movie itself, shot in Mexico with a number of Mexican actors, both amateur and professional, has a pleasantly strange vibe, like one of those East European comedies where the local customs would baffle an anthropologist. But the scriptwriters havenÃ??t figured out how to fully exploit this milieu. Pinned against the ropes while being relentlessly pummeled, Black is all dressed up with nowhere to go.