review for Nacho Libre on AllMovie

Nacho Libre (2006)
by Cammila Collar review

Nacho Libre is a great movie as long as you're into its own twisted little sense of humor. A sizable but distinct niche of people will dig it -- the only trick is figuring out if you're one of them -- so here is a brief guide to determine if you should keep reading. You will like Nacho Libre if: you enjoy Napoleon Dynamite-brand comedy, where there's rarely a clear punch line, things are just weirdly familiar, subtly bizarre, or unapologetically silly; you find inane food, members of the clergy, or Lucha Libre to be inherently funny; or you're a fan of Jack Black, in particular his melodramatic facial expressions, impromptu power-rock ballads, and scatological humor. If you answered yes to any of the above questions, feel free to continue reading the review, as this applies to you. Nacho Libre is a total and hysterical success in the realm of absurd humor. Director Jared Hess proves that the surprise success of his first film, Napoleon Dynamite, wasn't based on the happenstance of his tiny budget and cast of college classmates and unknowns. Nacho Libre expands his horizons with the money to take his characters to new places, but the humor is just as unnameable and awesome. Most of the time he just lets his leading man riff through the delivery, as Black's over-the-top expressions, intonations, and Mexican accent (which morphs into Italian in moments of relishing self-parody) are what seal the deal on much of the humor. While Napoleon Dynamite made fun of its clueless protagonist almost to the point of maliciousness, Nacho prompts laughter with far less spite, dragging real-world rules and values into the picture. Hess has also refined his own directional style with this project; it's something like Wes Anderson meets the Farrelly Brothers -- only drunk. It might be a little left-field for some, but for the rest of us, comedy doesn't get much better.