Not at all racist! Or at least only a little. Which was a relief, because I really wanted to enjoy this, and I did. Jack Black’s role is a lot like his role in The School of Rock. Slacker misfit is obsessed with becoming famous at his outsiderish pursuit but unfortunately isn’t very good at it. Once he realizes he shouldn’t pursue his goals for his own, shallow, narcissistic reasons, but rather in order to make children happy, he suddenly is able to rock/kick ass. One important difference: slightly creepy evangelical subtext in Nacho Libre. (Prayers are answered; sidekick converts.) Another: ironically, the songs in Nacho Libre are way better than the ones in School of Rock. Hess’s grand directorial strategy has two prongs: he chooses a perfectly distressed film stock that beautifully conveys a kind of kitschy 70’s vision of a Mexico both sunbleached and lush, and he keeps the camera pointed at Jack Black, who I think may be the best comedian outside of Sarah Silverman working today.
Actually, for all I know Jack Black has been inside Sarah Silverman. Ha!