Nacho Libre

MPAA Rating: PG

Entertainment: +2

Content: +1/2

Jack Black, Ana de la Reguera, Hctor Jimenez, Richard Montoya, and Peter Stormare. Written by Jared Hess & Jerusha Hess & Mike White. Directed by Jared Hess

FILM SYNOPSIS: Jack Black stars as Ignacio (friends call him Nacho), a monk-in-training who moonlights as a wrestler to raise money for his orphanage. PREVIEW REVIEW: Now, Ill admit (having had to sit through his body of work) that Mr. Black shows signs of growth as an actor. This revelation, however, does not stem from this base nonsense. Painful at times, excruciating at others, I cringed, not just at the string of flatulence rifts and poop visuals, but at the screening audiences affirmative response. Comic crudity reigns, and like hip-hop gangsters and ball caps worn backward, it just wont go away.

Movie comedies have often drawn heavily from coarse slapstick or vaudevillian bawdiness, but the genre has been overcome by a combination of plots-doing-cameos, while screenwriters rehash sophomoric gross-outs instead of humor based on real behavior. Like most of their contemporaries, writers Jared Hess, Jerusha Hess, and Mike White draw heavily from shock value, the I-cant-believe-I-saw-that factor used to the fullest in such films as Animal House, and Porkys. In Hollywoods defense, comedy from crudity seems to be what the intended audience is seeking. (I weep for the future.)

There are moments in Nacho Libre,/i> meant to touch us concerning this mans faith, his concern for his friends salvation and a deep caring for the children under his care not to mention his crush on the pretty nun-in-training who has somehow joined the monastery, but each of these moments lacks any conviction. They dont play as drama, which would have added depth to the proceedings and thereby highlighted the comic situations. These melodramas seem to be there because no one could think of anything funny that day.

A word must be said about the casting of the minor roles, from orphaned kids to people our hero encounters. Containing the most bizarre-looking supporting players since James Whales Freaks, it didnt matter to the casting director if they could act or had any comic timing, just so long as they looked strange. Evidently, we are supposed to laugh at kids that dont seem all there, banshee wrestling midgets, old men with cocked eyes and a lustful obese woman on the make. If you dont like laughing at how people look, then right away a third of this film will be less than satisfying.

My family video alternative: Cheaper by the Dozen. No, not the Steve Martin one. Go to a land beyond a world seen in black and white and populated by movie stars who now dwell amid the constellation. Clifton Webb and Myrna Loy raise a whole bunch of kids with humor and heart.

And for more mature viewers: The Chorus. This French film (with subtitles sorry bout that) is an emotional, music-filled tale about how a very humble mans simple dreams changed the future for a forgotten group of children.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Flatulence sound effects and other gross-out visuals are more prevalent than actual offensive words. The film is both sweet natured and grimy. There are several shots of the lead in the bathroom, after which he never seems to wash his hands. His job, mind you, is being the cook for the orphanage. Need I say more?

Obscene Language: None

Profanity: None

Violence: Slapstick in the ring beatings on several occasions. Also played for laughs, a thrown object is seen protruding from a villains eye. A monks robe catches on fire. This is played for laughs as he runs around, ablaze. Ha, ha.

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: None

Other: There are some positive message: the lead is devout, concerned about his friends salvation and he summons faith when faced with trials.

Running Time: 90 minutes
Intended Audience: Teens, tweeners and those desperate for a comedy.

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