I have to admit, I enjoyed Nacho Libre, even while realizing it was not anywhere near as good as I hoped it would be or should have been. It’s unfortunate. Jack Black as a fat Mexican friar who moonlights as a professional wrestler dressed in stretchy pants should bring the house down. Instead it merely provides some momentary pleasant diversions.
While it began strong, the film could not sustain the whimsy and melancholy it created in the first 20 minutes and, in fact, required to be a truly great comedy. The later half of the movie feels formulaic and conventional, the joyous spontaneity lost. You see where it is trying to go and the fact that you can and it can’t quite get there, makes it all the more disappointing.
Sure Jack Black is hilarious...as always. Héctor Jiménez is lovely and grotesque in the finest tradition of director Jared Hess’ films. And Ana de la Reguera is angelic. But the rollicking parts are greater than the overall sum, a movie perhaps best seen in trailer form where it’s individual moments are allowed to shine and carry the laughs. And those endearingly ridiculous moments are the ones I chose to take with me from the theater.