Oh dear. This film really is a big, fat shame in a leotard. For all his faults, I like Jack Black. For Napoleon Dynamite, I like Jared Hess. I liked the idea of a Mexican "Luchador" Wrestler comedy, since it was at the very least original. So I was looking forward to Nacho Libre.
But what happened? How could Hess get it so badly wrong? This film has more or less everything in place - comedic lead actor, promising setting, reasonable budget, up-and-coming director - but it forgets the key ingredient in a comedy....and that's comedy.
Jack Black is Nacho, a Mexican monk and unwilling cook for the other brothers at the monastery, with whom he has lived since childhood. Raised by the orphanage, he has since a young age craved the attention and glamour of the Mexican wrestling scene, and idolised the masked 'luchadors' who get the girls, the cash and the prestige.
But the wrestling is seen as sinful, so Nacho must conceal his love for the sport. Enter Sister Encarnacion (Ana de la Reguera) to stir the fire in his belly, and to offer a predictable comic foil for Nacho as he attempts to woo this chaste Nun with his anonymously masked fighting skills.
And so on and so forth. I didn't see the plot summary for Napoleon Dynamite because I didn't need to. It was just a funny film about a 'loser' who helps his friends and lives a life which is inherently funny, surrounded by other similar and well-developed characters who are funny.
Note that word. FUNNY. Jared Hess needs to remember that Napoleon Dynamite was not a single joke film as this is. If you think the best thing about his previous work was Pedro's accent, you are in luck, since the only thing this film offers is comedy Mexican accents without a gag to back them up.
A shame all round. I sincerely hope Hess can bounce back.