Written by: Crash McLarson, special to CC2k
Black is charming, but the movie isn't quite a body-slam
So I got to go to a fancy press screening of Nacho Libre recently. I sat down with my free popcorn and soda in hand and two super hot LA girls next to me that actually made good conversation about film before it started. This was starting to look like a great night. Ahead of me was an eagerly awaited movie collaboration with Jared Hess (Napoleon Dynamite) and Mike White (Chuck&Buck, School of Rock, Freaks and Geeks). I wanted a movie that would make me laugh, and come out of the theater with a new generation of movie quotes. What I got was … sort of close.
The movie starts out strong with what can only be described as a Wes Anderson title sequence, and jumps right in with some good old Jack Black-style humor. As with Napoleon Dynamite, Jared Hess insisted on authentic locations and extras, and he got them both. The Mexican setting looks great — but it does make the main characters, Ana de la Reguera and Mr. Jack Black, stand out.
There are many laugh-out-loud moments. However, a lot of these moments were spoiled with pointless potty humor and needless physical comedy. It's like the director watched the test screenings, and for every second there wasn't a laugh, he added a fart. NOT NEEDED!!!! Napoleon Dynamite did very well by avoiding this convention. Plus, Mike White co-wrote this! He's way too smart for that!
Example: After a loss, Nacho and his tag-team partner, Esqueleto, sit in the locker room, despondent — and for no apparent reason, Nacho is also taking a shit. Whaa wha wha???? LAME!!!! As for the needless physical comedy, there is a scene were the antagonist (Hell yeah I’m pulling that word out) is getting out of his car, and the door slams into an excited fan, knocking her over. LAME!!!! When these scenes are happening, I had to check to make sure I didn’t wander into a Wayans brothers movie by accident.
There are some gems, though: It ran a little long, but I'm still laughing about a fight between our tag team protagonists (come on I used one, I had to use the other) and the SCARIEST MIDGETS I HAVE EVER SEEN! Another winner is the Baptism scene. Very quick, but some good timing on everyone’s part.
I also have to admit that even though I can see a lot of Black's schtick (or should I say "shit") coming from a mile away, I still break out laughing like an idiot. Every time JB has to sing a song, for example, I'm always waiting for the inevitible "Black Scat Attack," and he never disappoints. (Yes, I know I just made up the phrase "Black Scat Attack." Tell me it's not perfect.)
Long live the D! Long live the hard fucking and inward singing!
Jared Hess also brings back some conventions from Napoleon Dynamite, including:
1. The eccentric Mexican sidekick (Pedro)
2. The shocking weird secondary love interest (Lafawnduh).
3. The cribbing from Adam Sandler movies. There's a creepy old man character in Nacho Libre who goes to all the wrestling matches, first jeering at Nacho, than later supporting him, with slurred dialogue. He might as well have said, "You can do it!"
All in all, Jack Black was very charming as he usually is, and got a few hearty laughs out of me. But without him, this movie would have fallen apart faster than Ikea furniture. (There's my simile for the day.) I was pretty disappointed overall, but this could be a good movie to watch with a bunch of friends whilst drinking heavily, but I recommend that you wait for the DVD to do so.
Seriously. Wait for the DVD, you sick bastards. Don’t Drink and Drive!