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  Nacho Libre

Jared Hess, USA, 2006

Rating: 0.1


Posted: June 21, 2006

The human mind is not unlike a muscle. When stimulated and used regularly, it will develop and become stronger and more efficient. However, when left dormant for extended periods, it will atrophy and wither away. And nothing will bring on said atrophy quicker than prolonged exposure to films like Nacho Libre. This is yet another reminder of the decline of not only the movie industry, but the human condition as well.

Think Iím exaggerating? Oh no, my friend. Would that it were so! The fact that this film will doubtlessly make money and debuted in second place at the box office this past weekend is an indicator that the American moviegoing public is only a stoneís throw away from being offered balls of yarn and bits of shiny aluminum foil as alternate forms of entertainment. In short, Hollywood is making films for those whose brain cells are totally devoid of protoplasm -- those carbon-based husks whose vague association of imploded nuclei compel them to drool intermittently and let go with a Pavlovian laugh whenever Hollywood rings the bell with attempts at comedy that are so far off the mark their original intent in totally indiscernible.

Now that I got that out of the way, let me say this. Nacho Libre is affront to the light sent through the projector used to send it to the screen. It is light pollution. It hurts to look at. In fact, I found myself barely able to look directly at the screen for more than five minutes at a time. Nacho Libre actually causes physical pain to the viewer, usually somewhere between the temple and the shoulder blade. Trust me on this one.

You know I always tell you people to adjust your expectations in accordance with the film you are seeing. I did that. I swear I did! I figured, "Jack Black, Mexican wrestling, that should be good for a laugh or two." It wasnít. Instead I was given a steady dose of Jack Black making facial contortions and offering up some of his theater of the intolerable. In addition to that, I got nothing to laugh at and no reason to remain seated. And yet I did. I was totally convinced that the film could not stay this bad. Even after the credits rolled, I was convinced something would happen. Nothing did, except that I was approximately an hour and a half closer to the grave. Lemme tell ya ... thatís a harsh realization.

How does Nacho Libre fail? Let us count the ways. Jack Black in tights, while intended to be funny, just serves to renew my own exercise regimen. Physical comedy, when done properly, can be very funny. It is not funny here -- unless that is, you find a fat woman attempting to crawl through a hole in the wall amusing, and then by all means, have at it (and then give me your address so that I can sign you up for mandatory sterilization). Wrestling can also be a fertile ground for comedy. But again, it is not used in that capacity here. Jack Black doing his Tenacious D act in a friar's robe is equally unappealing.

Director Jared Hess once gave us Napoleon Dynamite. That film was little more than a series of fairly amusing skits that never seemed to congeal into something coherent. But it was endearing nonetheless. In comparison to Nacho Libre, Napoleon Dynamite is The Godfather. You understand now? Can I make it any clearer?

So as I said, the human mind is like a muscle. Exercise it, and youíll have a sharp wit and a greater appreciation for all things great and small. Let it waste away, and youíll end up like the guy behind me in the theatre who could not stop laughing. Itís your call.

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 Clemenza's Ratings Key:

 5.0: A drop of bliss

 4.0-4.9: Touchdown!
 3.0-3.9: Close, but...
 2.0-2.9: Box of Rocks
 1.1-1.9: Time bandit
 0.0-1.0: Soul scarring
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