Plot: What’s it about?
Even if you didn’t see it, “Nacho Libre” is one poster that was hard to miss. I mean how many movie posters out there feature a teal and red clad half naked man that look like Jack Black? Not many, I’m guessing. I’ve been a real fan of Jack Black ever since 1999’s “High Fidelity” in which he stole the show with his over the top performance and surprising ability to croon Marvin Gaye songs. At the time, I had no idea of his “Tenacious D” show, but let’s just say that despite his looks – Mr. Black is certainly gifted musically. He partnered with Richard Linklater in “School of Rock” which was a wise move and it gave Black the perfect outlet to really cut loose. He also seemed to work well with children, something that he’s doing again in “Nacho Libre”. I have to admit that I was curious to see what the movie was about, but if you judge by appearances (and let’s face it, we all do) this movie will probably be seen by most just to satisfy their curiosity.
Black plays “Nacho”, a friar at a small Mexican church where his responsibility is to cook for the staff and the orphans that are staying there. The problem is that they lack money and Nacho has to resort to alternative methods to procure their meals. Nacho has always had a dream of being a wrestler or luchador as it’s known in Mexico. The trouble is that it’s looked down upon by the members of the cloth. Nacho learns of a tournament in which the grand prize will allow him to buy food for the orphans, so he manages to find a partner, Esqueloto (Hector Jimenez), and the two hit the circuit. Let’s face it: they’re not good. But the money they get from losing still allows the orphans to live somewhat of a better life. Still, Nacho’s dream isn’t fulfilled until he has a shot at turning pro. To do that he must wrestle the country’s champion, Ramses (Cesar Gonzales). Can Nacho defeat the mighty Ramses or will the children of the orphanage be doomed to beans and day old chips for years to come?
“Nacho Libre” is somewhat of a perplexing movie; it has some genuinely funny moments, though I think I’m about twenty years out of the target audience. I do find Black funny, but everything seems a bit forced here. I do have to say that I was laughing so hard at a particular scene in this movie, I had to pause it just to catch my breath (hint: two troll-like things in the wrestling ring). Black is such an odd-looking person that we become pretty desensitized to seeing him topless and he seems comfortable with his physique, which might be good for him but bad for us. I’m sure a younger audience will get a bit more out of this than me and the movie was produced by Nickelodeon, so that should have set something off in my head there. Yet it didn’t. Fans of wrestling might like this too as there are a number of actual wrestling sequences in the film. While not a bad movie, I felt a bit lost sometimes but it’s got some pretty funny moments as well.
Video: How does it look?
“Nacho Libre” is shown in a 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer that looks pretty good, just as we’d expect it to. Colors are very rich and vibrant and this being a new to DVD movie I think we’d be surprised to find anything less than near perfection. I found a few instances in which the image seemed a bit soft, but they were few and far between. Black levels are fine and edge enhancement, though present, wasn’t much of a factor. This movie is also slated to come out on HD DVD (Paramount’s first since their first wave), so I’ll be curious to see how much better that one will look as compared to this one.
Audio: How does it sound?
A standard Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is included and there isn’t many times when it’s really used. There are some ambient sound effects and the scenes that contain wrestling make use of all 5.1 channels, but aside from that – it’s pretty much just dialogue. Granted, I wasn’t expecting the best soundtrack in the world, but this delivers what it’s supposed to and not much more. It’s an above average effort, for sure.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Paramount has issued “Nacho Libre” as part of its “Special Collector’s Edition” line of DVD’s which is really hit or miss. Usually for a new to DVD movie, that’s a good thing so we start off with a commentary track with director Jared Hess, Jack Black and Mike White. The three make for a pretty good track and Black was actually pretty involved in the making of the movie as well (he was a Producer). I think only true fans of the movie will want to give it a listen, but it’s a good track to listen to if you’re so inclined. There are five behind the scenes featurettes, which all end rather abruptly though my favorite would have to be the “Moviefone” one in which Black and co-star Jimenez interview each other. Some deleted scenes are shown in non-anamorphic widescreen and a photo gallery is also included. All in all, it’s not a bad offering and if you’re a fan of the movie, there are enough supplements to warrant a purchase. Also included is some DVD-ROM material, a rarity these days… As for me, I think I’ll go re-watch the scene that made me laugh uncontrollably.