From the creators of 'Napoleon Dynamite' and the writer of 'School of Rock' comes this hilarious and heartfelt tale of a Mexican monk torn between his religious duties and his love of Lucha Libre wrestling.

It was inevitable that the follow-up to the Hess spouses' (Jared and Jerusha) 'Napoleon Dynamite' would endure endless comparisons to the 2004 cult classic, but fortunately 'Nacho Libre' does not suffer unduly as a result.

Orphaned at a young age, Ignacio, or Nacho (Black), spends his days dishing out tasteless food to parentless boys at the monastery where he grew up.

His bland existence is jolted when the beautiful young Sister Encarnación (de la Reguera) comes to live at the monastery.

Buoyed by impure thoughts and a will to better the experiences of the boys in his culinary care, Nacho enlists the help of Esqueleto (Jiménez) - 'The Skeleton' - to form a wrestling tag team.

Although 'Nacho Libre' never quite reaches the majestic heights of its predecessor, it does include most, if not all, of the traits that endeared 'Napoleon ...' to so many.

The most obvious similarities between the two are the quirkiness of the characters, the importance of the location and offbeat nature of the comedy.

Nacho and co are an eccentric set of personalities who in real life would receive ridicule and strange looks from most of us. However, as in 'Napoleon ...', these hitherto losers become strangely heroic.

Jack Black's performance matches anything he achieved in 'High Fidelity' and 'Shallow Hal'. Similarly, Héctor Jiménez, whose appearance is odd to say the least, is superb as Nacho's skinny, streetwise sidekick.

Just as Jared Hess' home town of Preston, Idaho, played such a major part in his debut, the barren mountains and dusty streets of the Oaxaca region of Southern Mexico add immensely to this effort.

Finally, anyone who appreciated the unique approach to comedy in 'Napoleon ...' is in for a treat, with the Spartan use of dialogue again in evidence. However, 'Nacho Libre' is less left-of-centre and will no doubt add to the growing legions of fans of the Hess brothers' work.

We could be witnessing the early stages of a Hess movie dynasty. We should try to revel in their reign.

Séamus Leonard