Nacho Libre (12A) <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

Click to follow

A blissful fiesta of absurdity. Following up his terrific Napoleon Dynamite (2004), the writer-director Jared Hess focuses upon another heroic misfit, this time a tubby friar named Nacho who cooks terrible food for the children in a Mexican orphanage. Wishing to enhance their diet, and to impress a beautiful nun (Ana de la Reguera) at the monastery, Nacho moonlights as a masked participant in lucha libre, a nutty Mexican version of wrestling.

It's as daft as it sounds, but the picture is lifted single-handedly by Jack Black in the title role, sporting a curly wig, Zorro moustache and a pair of Lycra shorts that show off his ski-slope belly. Reprising the overgrown adolescent he played in School of Rock, Black leaps around like a pig on Benzedrine, yet his facial mobility and faux-Latino accent are as nimble as his physical comedy - it's a treat just to hear his pronunciation of the word "nutrients".

The script, by Hess, his wife Jerusha and Mike White, keeps delivering zingers, only going slack when the wrestling takes over: even fake wrestling is a bore. The pace and look of the movie will be familiar to fans of Napoleon Dynamite, each shot carefully framed and held just long enough to underscore the oddball mood. If it didn't star Black and his one-man band of funny tics, it might struggle - but it does, and it delights.

Comments