Jack Black is a man who suffers for his art. Sure, you may assume he’d relish spending days on the set of Nacho Libre as the chef/wrestler sporting a moustachioed Scotch egg in Speedos look (“I did look pretty funny in that costume”), but, as the five Making Of featurettes lovingly heaped onto this chunky disc reveal, the big man can sure be vulnerable. Witness him suck in his tremulous midriff during a mirror monologue, or listen to his confessions of on-set discomfort and you’ll see a gratifyingly human side to his ADD tubby clowning.
Black needn’t have panicked about his weight, though, as people sniggering at his faintly ludicrous physique is, in this case, A Good Thing. In fact, it’s essential. Because Spandex-stretching aside (midget wrestlers Satan’s Cavemen are the only fizzy-pop-through-the-nostrils guffaw), Nacho Libre isn’t actually that funny. Rather, it veers oddly close to being a Proper Film, shot with slow-burning, wide-angle affection by Napoleon Dynamite director Jared Hess and packed tighter than Black’s pantaloons with that unique brand of daffy, lump-in-the-throat pathos both men are so adept at evoking.
The simple, mission-based plot (learn to wrestle, win money, escape from inept monastery slop-cook tedium/buy the orphans a bus) is a no-brainer, granted, but there are lashings of heart on display. Shame then that it’s clouded throughout by throwaway fart gags, cheerful stereotype-riffing and Tenacious D-esque sing-songs. Less belly-laugh-inducing than might (reasonably) be expected, but arguably less one-dimensional to boot.