The Movie Buffer

Monday, June 26, 2006

The double whammy: Nacho Libre and Click


Spoilers are my bread and butter


This is a double issue since I saw two films last week and was equally disappointed by both. Nacho Libre and Click both looked like niche market films and after viewing them my suspicions were correct. One was for Fans of Napoleon Dynamite and the other was for fans of non-threatening comedies.

Nacho Libre, the story of Ignacio/Nacho, the friar cook/luchador, could have been a light hearted comedy with a moral and some good characters but a few major annoyances render it impotent. The story is solid enough: Nacho, who has no skills as a cook(he blames the poor food), tries to earn some extra money to make better meals for the orphans under his care bye moonlighting as a masked wrestler. As he rises through the ranks of the wrestling world he takes on more and more colourful characters and is able to provide for his kids. In the end, Nacho helps his orphanage, meets a bunch of interesting friends and shows that you can do anything you put your mind to.

The annoyances come from the delivery of this film. Jared Hess, the man that brought us Napoleon Dynamite, brings his eclectic and almost stream-of-consciousness style of film making to this project. Though in Napoleon Dynamite, it helped package a day in the life of a nerd, in Nacho Libre it hurt the story’s development. It was quirky, it was kitsch and it was campy but too much so. The second is Jack Black’s poor performance as the leading man. Black has recently become an A-list comedic actor for a string of tepid roles in movies like King Kong and School of Rock. Though he is a great character actor as seen in High Fidelity and Mars Attacks!, he has not yet developed as a leading actor like Adam Sandler or Eddie Murphy have. Furthermore, his Mexican accent was an idea that should have been pulled because this was asking for too much from the audience. He should have a Mexican accent but the writers, director and Black himself should have figured out a better way to demonstrate it. The last of the major offenses is the “love story” aspect of the film. The relationship between Nacho and Sister Encarnacion isn’t dynamic at all. There is a bit of tension between the two but it never comes to a head and the viewer already knows the resolution to this problem. Though disappointing the film does have a few moments and interesting shots – The Mexican state of Oaxaca is prominently shown, some of the fight scenes were funny and the cast of secondary characters was pretty good.

This is a movie for fans of Napoleon Dynamite and Jack Black. It has moments but they are few and far between, so I’m giving this film a 5/10 or 2 stars out of 5.

I wrote an article chastising the writer of Jumanji about his second attempt at the film, Zathura but at least he waited for 10 years and a new generation of viewers to grow up. The team of Steve Koren and Mark O’Keefe waited a scant 3 years to redo their movie Bruce Almighty again in Click. Adam Sandler, Michael Newman, is an average guy, who by chance inherits a truly universal remote. He uses the remote to “fix” his life so he can be a better person: He ducks through traffic, he rewinds to important points of his life, he fast forwards through the dull/ “bad”/boring parts of life, and he pauses the world when someone needs to be smacked down. Like Bruce Almighty, things aren’t always as they seem and problems with the powers go on the fritz.

Sandler delivers a good performance, indulging in all the things that an average guy would do if he could control the universe – Smacking your boss around, putting bullies in their place, never forgetting any detail about your wife or children, and putting the world into to slow-mo to live out an episode of Baywatch – it’s good to be king. Kate Beckinsdale plays the hot wife perfectly and on occasion emotes! Sandler and Beckinsdale have great onscreen chemistry which really gets truly shows the relationship their characters have. Walken is the brightest star, as the mad scientist who delivers the universal remote. The rest of the secondary characters are portrayed by actors that do a decent job: The child actors, David Hasselhoff, Henry Winkler and Sean Astin.

Since this movie is clearly recycled, the actors do the best they can with the material and in the end produce a movie that isn’t offensive but it is not attractive. This movie takes no risks, makes no promises that it can’t deliver and is basically a plain movie. Like Nacho Libre, I was left disappointed with this film, it deserves a 5/10 or 2 star out of 5 rating because it’s easily forgettable with characters that you can’t love or hate and a resolution that can be telegraphed from the beginning.


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