Ryan Chartrand

If the thought of Jack Black dressed in baby blue tights prancing about and wrestling midgets as vicious as gremlins sounds like a party to you, perhaps “Nacho Libre” isn’t as bad as they say.

From the director/writer of “Napoleon Dynamite,” Jared Hess, comes the anxiously awaited and Haylie Duff cameo-free follow-up, “Nacho Libre.” The film tells the tale of a peculiar Mexican friar named Ignacio (Jack Black) whose activities include caring for orphans and dressing up in tights, which Black says helped display his rock-hard abs. His lifelong desire to become a luchador, or Mexican version of The Rock, eventually takes over when he becomes the great “Nacho” and sets out to win “so many monies” for the orphans he cares so deeply about. If you re-read that last sentence, you might find that the film has a plot, a character with a driving passion in life and a climax that leads to a point. That’s right, Hess made a “real” movie.

To say that fans of “Napoleon Dynamite” will bow before “Nacho Libre” would end this review immediately, but unfortunately that’s not the case. “Nacho Libre” is not as universal as Hess’s “masterpiece” and has already been maimed with “tasteless comedy” and “Hess just got demoted” labels from the same people who wear “Vote 4 Pedro” shirts.

Thankfully, your brain will automatically make you believe that Hess’s script is hilarious simply because the “Hess-Black” combination obviously must be the greatest comedic duo since Owen Wilson and. himself. Thankfully, most of “Nacho Libre” is, while at times childish, a laugh-out-loud comedy that might even warm your heart and leave you wondering why Mexico is cooler than you.

Most of the comedy is drawn from Black’s ability to turn any terrible scene or ridiculous line of dialogue into the funniest thing anyone has said in the past week. Whether he’s walloping a wrestler over the head with a churro, making his eyebrows dance on his forehead and serve as periods to his sentences or exaggerating his Spanish accent with lines like “Neeple Sqweeze!” Black is there making what should be a waste of a time worthwhile. There are a few occasions when he casually slips into Tenacious D singing mode, but any Black fan will consider those moments highlights of the film, not out-of-place disruptions.

Black’s tag-team partner, played by no-name actor Hector Jimenez, proves that Hess knows exactly who he wants to play his quirky characters. Jimenez only has to open his horse-like mouth and smile awkwardly at the camera to keep any “Napoleon Dynamite” crowd entertained.

Unfortunately, aside from Black and Jimenez, there are no other characters even worth mentioning. I suppose including a plot made it too difficult for Hess to create any supplemental characters as eccentric and entertaining as Nacho or Kip Dynamite.

The main theme to “Nacho Libre” is actually one of the best parts of the film and you’ll find the Internet is crawling with people trying to find it. Acclaimed composer Danny Elfman did the rest of the soundtrack, but no other songs tend to stick out, even with the master of “The Nightmare Before Christmas” at the hel.m While the trailer for “Nacho Libre” serves as a highlight reel of 80 percent of the film’s best parts, simply letting Black perform his magic and Hess set up his awkward environments before you is almost as hilarious as a James Blunt concert.

Hess may have taken a step backward in his comedy and ability to write dialogue, but by incorporating an actual plot, perhaps he’s taken a step forward at the same time. Meanwhile, Hess could care less since we’re still jumping up and down at the fact that he’s still making movies with a fresh take on comedy and a cast worth remembering.

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