Nacho Libre

Don’t be thrown by pissy reviews from people who don’t know how, or are ashamed, to enjoy themselves. Nacho Libre is a very funny, very well-realized movie. Director Jared Hess (Napoleon Dynamite), working from a script he wrote with his wife, Jerusha, and Mike White, has achieved a near-perfect Jack Black vehicle—set in, of all places, a rural Mexican monastery and a lucha libre ring. Black plays an orphanage cook who, with unlikely help from a ragamuffin tag-team partner (Héctor Jiménez), lives his dream by wrestling for the children’s sake. Handsomely designed and photographed, with fond attention to detail and Hess’ typical intuition for faces, landscapes, and dialogue at once outrageous and restrained, Nacho Libre invigorates even its conventional traits with deadpan batty charm. It also appreciates its characters instead of condescending to them and therefore registers as one of the season’s most inspired, genuinely humane comedies of oafishness.