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PCR # 325  (Vol. 7, No. 24)  This edition is for the week of June 12--18, 2006.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"Nacho Libre"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith
Three stars

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

theater seats

The Tampa Film Review for June  by Nolan B. Canova
A Ghostly Tour of A Jungle Prada  by William Moriaty
"Nacho Libre"  by Mike Smith
The Dark Side Winds Again....Speak Up....My Favorite Films -- Part 24: "Jaws 2"  by Mike Smith
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Starring: Jack Black, Ana de la Requera and Hector Jimenez
Directed by: Jared Hess
Rated: PG
Running Time: 1 hour 34 mins

Ah, who doesn't love Jack Black? OK, maybe some people thought him wrong for "King Kong" so let me ask the question differently. Who doesn't love a FUNNY Jack Black? That's what I thought. Now put your hands down and go see "Nacho Libre."

Black plays a monk named Ignacio. The orphan son of missionaries, Ignacio has grown up at the orphanage he now works at and is given the most menial of tasks to do. Among those tasks is going into the local village to pick up the old "orphan chips" from a local restaurant to feed the children with. "Can't we just have a salad sometime," asks one of the children as he is served his thousandth bowl of slop (with the chips on top)? Enter a new nun, Sister Encarnacion (de la Requera). She is not only beautiful but, when asked to describe herself, mentions that she "loves puppies and volleyball." As a young boy, Ignacio would daydream about becoming a Luchador, a great wrestler. A flyer in the village square invites those that dare to challenge the champion in the ring. Wanting to raise money for the children, Ignacio dons a mask to become Nacho Libre!

The film is directed by Jared Hess, who scored a huge success with "Napolean Dynamite" two summers ago. Part of the charm of that film was the characters, not only their words but their mannerisms. Hess has filled his movie with real "faces," not the standard central casting versions of people. As the film was shot entirely in Mexico, it gives Hess the opportunity to find great, weathered faces. These faces tell a lot of the story with just a sideways glance or a slight smile. Black is at his comic best in what seems to be a performance part Tenacious D and part "School of Rock." Though his accent often comes and goes ("I want to ween"), his body language and jumping eyebrows are testament that he, and not Chris Farley, is the true second coming of the late John Belushi. And I mean that in a good way. The film also stays deeply rooted in the true Mexican passion for their wrestling stars. These men wear masks all the time, even out at dinner. The mystery is part of what makes the sport popular.

A film with a steady stream of laughter enclosed is a great cure for those with the "World Cup" blues., and "Nacho Libre" is just what the doctor ordered. On a scale of zero to four stars, I give "Nacho Libre"  Three stars

This week's movie review of "Nacho Libre" is ©2006 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2006, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2006 by Nolan B. Canova.