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Napoleon Dynamite
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Napoleon Dynamite More at IMDbPro »

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490 out of 707 people found the following review useful:

TOO FUNNY!

Author: eht5y
7 December 2004

It seems based on many of the comments on this site that certain folks may be expecting a bit too much from a movie such as 'Napoleon Dynamite.'

This ain't art cinema, folks. It's absurdist comedy. Don't go to see this film looking for deep meaning or well-constructed plot--the vague semblance of a plot is as artificial as they come, and seems inserted mostly to give the film structure and to permit the audience a somewhat 'happy' ending.

NO, Napoleon Dynamite isn't about changing the world--it's live action 'South Park' (Preston, Idaho, where the film is set, actually bears a strong resemblance to the real South Park, Colorado). It's a highly ironic, self-mocking, merciless run of sight gags and one liners with no apparent purpose other than to get laughs at the expense of its main characters, especially the eponymous Napoleon, a fit stand-in for everyone who's ever felt like a socially inept outcast trapped in the hell of high school.

This movie isn't for everybody, but if you don't see glimpses of your own childhood in the various awkwardnesses and failures of the main characters, you're in denial. Don't see Napoleon Dynamite if you're expecting sensitivity--go see it if you're pissed off at the world and just need to laugh. I saw it for the first time last night, and I'm still busting into spontaneous laughter whenever one of Napoleon's silly one-liners or blank-faced dead-pan non-sequitirs comes to mind.

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301 out of 416 people found the following review useful:

Funny and unique!

7/10
Author: Dan Franzen (dfranzen70) from United States
30 December 2004

Napoleon Dynamite (Jon Heder) is the typical sad-sack, luckless loser that has permeated high schools for seemingly centuries. He has no friends, he's picked on by bullies, he has a somewhat-odd home life ... but through it all, he's sure things will be just plain okay in the end.

Napoleon and his older brother Kip (Aaron Ruell) live with their grandmother, but at the beginning of the film she tells them she needs to take off for a couple days. Enter their Uncle Rico (Jon Gries), a self-starter who's living in 1982 (when the coach of his high school football team declined to put him in as quarterback, thus altering Rico's life forever). Some of the funniest scenes in the film involve Napoleon's often-combative relationship with Uncle Rico; Rico is also bound and determined to return to those halcyon days of his youth via a time machine he's seen advertised on the Internet, and he enlists Kip to help him raise the funds.

Napoleon befriends the new kid in school, Pedro (Efren Ramirez), who has a sweet bike, can talk to girls, and has an actual mustache. But like Napoleon, Pedro is a misfit. Both sometimes hang out with yet another taciturn student, Deb (Tina Majorino, all grown up from Waterworld), who secretly (it seems) likes Napoleon. But there isn't a lot of focus on their relationship, because Napoleon himself is fairly oblivious to how people perceive him. This isn't a story about young love or lust, it's a story about a misfit refusing to fit - while fitting in with others like him.

Jon Heder is perfectly cast as the gawky, dorky Napoleon; he resembles Butt-Head in countenance, although certainly not in temperament or intelligence. Mouth agape and with an awkward gait, Napoleon is about as odd a duck as you'd find in high school, and yet he still manages to survive with his dignity intact. He's a good egg, although he seems to overreact at times: "What are you gonna do today, Napoleon? Napoleon: Whatever I feel like I wanna do.....GOSH!" Still, his delivery is perfect. You can readily picture a Napoleon in any high school.

I think where the film ultimately succeeds, aside from the casting of Heder, is that it doesn't fall into the traps of predictability and stereotyping. Sure, it's a high school movie, and there are snobby pretty girls and arrogant jocks, but not much time is devoted to them. Sure, there's a big dance, but it doesn't necessarily turn out the way you'd expect it to. What you're left with, then, isn't a typical coming-of-age story, but rather a unique take on a rather mundane - albeit life-altering - time in a boy's life.

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334 out of 492 people found the following review useful:

Not Realistic?

10/10
Author: death2steelers from United States
27 January 2005

This movie is quite possibly the funniest movie ever. It doesn't have much of a storyline, but in this case, it doesn't matter. I keep reading reviews that say it isn't believable. Anyone who has attended High School in the last 10 years knows that this movie portrays exactly what it is like. Who doesn't know someone exactly like Napoleon? Or Pedro? Or Summer? Or Deb? Or Don? There are Napoleons, Pedros, Summers, Debs, and Dons in EVERY American High School. One of the funniest parts about this movie is that it IS so accurate. And who hasn't run across an internet geek like Kip? This movie is filled with jokes about our culture today. I haven't met one person yet who has seen it and not liked it. Talk about a cult classic in the making. The film uses witty humor, and a little goofy humor. It's the PERFECT film for light comedy. If you're into those kind of films that make you think a lot, this one definitely isn't for you. On the other hand, if you laugh at things like Napoleon getting psyched for a milk-testing contest, or lying about hunting wolverines in Alaska, exaggerating about his bow staff skills or his brother bragging about chatting online with "babes" all day, you can't go wrong. (10/10)

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308 out of 473 people found the following review useful:

Awesome!

Author: Rick from Newport, WA
7 December 2004

I have to say I was so intrigued by the mixed responses to this film on this board I had to see it. In my opinion it was the best movie I have seen in years. I am so tired of the typical BS Hollywood crap, and this movie was far from that. Napoleon was indeed dynamite! The first couple minutes I was kinda worried that the naysayers were right, but as the movie continued I couldn't stop laughing! And for those how think that it was wrong to exploit the nerds in society, you definitely missed the whole point of the movie. It wasn't exploited them, it was more celebrating them and their uniqueness. And as for being unrealistic, this movie was more realistic than any movie I have seen. That was part of what made it hilarious. Not doubt this will be a cult classic! GO NAPOLEON!

I give this film a 10 out of 10

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188 out of 257 people found the following review useful:

You have to "get it" before you find it funny. And it is VERY funny.

9/10
Author: gawkman from United States
30 December 2004

The love/hate reactions I've seen do not surprise me at all. This movie is very different, it's own style... and it is PURE GENIUS. But it's definitely not for everyone... you have to back off and understand the mood and general feel of the movie before you have the context to find the actions of the characters funny. Then you will "get it". And what is this context I'm referring to? This movie explores the very essence of boredom and mediocrity as you follow the daily life of a dorky guy doing uninteresting things in a small, unexciting town. Napolean's constant, open-mouth, blank stare says, "I'm only tolerating this monotonous existence because I've got nothing better to do." It took me about 15 minutes into the movie and then I GOT it. The movie has no real plot because it isn't about an interesting story, it's about the real life that exists BETWEEN the interesting stories. Ever call up your bud because you're bored, then talk about what you're not doing, then decide to get together and be bored together, and spend the remainder of the evening trying to think of something to do to no avail? This movie is about this very type of thing... a tribute to the ordinary every-day stuff that you have no reason or desire to remember... like eating reheated leftover Hamburger Helper, or that old shirt you wear when you're working that you're not afraid to get dirty, or some magazine you flipped through to pass the time in the dentist's waiting room.

I constantly found myself saying, "This all seems too strangely familiar. I knew a guy like that. I've done stuff like that. I've been to a store like that. I've been in a house like that." This isn't the kind of movie to make you suddenly laugh out loud, it's a movie that will first make you chuckle, and then chuckle some more, and pretty soon you can't stop laughing as scenes and characters continuously remind you about the absurdity of watching random, stupid pointlessness. Why would something boring be interesting to watch? You'll just have to see it to understand.

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201 out of 332 people found the following review useful:

Who would have thought that a movie with no real plot could be so good...

Author: SarahM42 from Portland, Oregon US
15 December 2004

OK, I have seen a lot of negative reviews on this movie. It made me leery of even seeing it. I work at a video store so I get to see movies before their street release date. There were a few naysayers at work, but I rented it anyway. This was a rental well spent. This is the first movie I have seen in some time that doesn't have swear words or sex in any form so it is OK for any age. If you are or ever were just a little bit geeky, Napoleon is the hero for you. This movie is much funnier to a gen-x'er. There are a lot of things that you won't "get" if you weren't a part of the 80's. All in all, I think that it is a great way to spend an evening. I am looking forward to seeing more from this writer/director.

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170 out of 274 people found the following review useful:

A cult-classic

10/10
Author: zenzelmo from United States
31 March 2005

Though this movie seems to strike a chord with the younger crowd, there is no age limit to appreciating this film, just limits in your sense of humor. Perhaps the funniest movie I've seen in years, ND explores character profiles we never thought would make it to the movies. The characters cover a wide range of social misfits and exhibit the nuances of their behavior in a way that makes sense to them, if not to the general public. It's like a sociological case study of a primitive and exotic tribe of "Nerds". Everyone of us should be able to recognize at least one of the ND characters from somewhere in our past or somewhere in our psyches. The acting is sublime, because sometimes we forget that they ARE acting. The writing and dialogue are inventive and unexpected, and so dry it might take you a few days to start laughing. But once you do start laughing, you won't be able to stop. This movie is sure to be a cult classic for the new millennium the way Repo Man was the the 80's. And if you like this film, consider yourself luck-EEEE, because not everyone will.

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87 out of 116 people found the following review useful:

Not Just Another Teen Nerd Story, This Is Both Original & Very Funny

10/10
Author: ccthemovieman-1 from United States
14 July 2007

If you like dry or dark humor, you should get a big kick out of this movie. I know I did. If you are between 12-20 you might even like it more because this deals with high school kids primarily. However, there are some adults in here who play key roles, too.

The teens and the adults have a couple of things in common: they are nerds and weird people and they are all hilarious. They also are unlike a cast of characters you have seen in any other movie. In other words, this movie is an "original."

I didn't know any of these actors and I think that helped. It made it even more original, looking at new faces. That begins with the title character, played by Jon Heder. A white kid in Idaho with a afro haircut, over-sized glasses, moon boots and an unpredictable and low-key personality unlike anyone I've ever seen in other films. Even though he's pictured as a huge nerd, he surprises you all the time. Just when you think you have this kid figured out, he does something unexpected. Whatever, he's fun to watch and hear throughout the movie.

Suffice to say "Napoleon" and about everyone in this film is totally whacked and all of them - male, female, young, old, good and bad people are extremely entertaining. A lot of the humor is visual, meaning the looks and reactions on these character's faces and the weird deadpan lines they deliver. Are there stereotypes in here? Yes, like the bimbo, prettiest girl in school running for class president , and her stupid, macho boyfriend, but most of the people were pretty unique.

If you like absurd humor, this is your cup of tea, and you don't have to be a teen to enjoy this. Hey, I'm old enough to be Napoleon's grandfather and I laughed my butt off from the beginning to the end of this unconventional film.

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195 out of 342 people found the following review useful:

Best movie of 2004

Author: Cletus from Washington DC
28 April 2004

This movie is a genx love fest and it made me feel better than any movie I have ever seen. Essentially, this movie is a remake of "welcome to the dollhouse" and a lot of the other slacker-esque movies of that era. The film follows the misadventures of a complete loser (Napoleon Dynamite is a near sighted high school kid with a penchant for medieval warriors and tall tales), his best friend (the new kid in town, a Mexican immigrant who must comprehend life in rural Idaho), their shared love interest (she is deliciously quirky on her own), and a few other random characters (Napoleon's scheming "get rich quick" uncle and his internet chatroom obsessed loser 32-year-old-but-still-living-at-home brother). In terms of story, this one is tops. All of the "good" characters grow and become much more than they were when the movie began. This film celebrates friendship at it's basest level and demonstrates the triumph of good people above overwhelming odds. The true appeal of this movie though, for me, was the close attention that the director paid to making this movie feel like the early 1990's or late 1980's. Characters wear zubbas and hand out friendship bracelets. Even the vocabulary the actors use comes from this era (when was the last time you called someone "retarded", for example), but it is done so in such a genuine manner. The music and the style are very appropriate, and you can really feel the social awkwardness of Napoleon and his friends. While this movie was made in many ways to appeal to those who can most relate to the awkward years of growing up (the unpopular kids, the new kid, the medieval warrior obsessed clique, the metal heads, the stoners, all the general low lifes you probably associated with, or possibly were at school), this will nevertheless appeal to everyone else. The comedy is not made to be knee slapping, but it's sublety is wonderful and I found myself laughing throughout the entire film. If you have ever rooted for the underdog, this is the movie for you. I can't spoil the ending for you, but for real, no movie has ever made me feel as happy and as inspired as this one. I can't wait to see what this director comes up with next!

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157 out of 267 people found the following review useful:

Stop looking for deeper meaning, just enjoy the jokes.

Author: Tom (jkazoo@hotmail.com) from parts unknown
20 October 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I found this movie very, very funny. Not hilarious, but very, very funny. People (read critics) have accused this film for being "quirky for the sake of being quirky" to which I say: "What's frickin' wrong with that? IDITOTS!"

I find this movie to be a delightful character (rather than plot) driven farce, a movie that you have to accept on its own terms. The world of Napoleon Dynamite is not reality, nor does it ever claim to be. It's job is to make you laugh, and for me, it does it in spades. It's not a fall-out-of-your-chair-in-hysterics funny, it's more of a constant-giggling-over-the-silliness-of-it-all funny. It's like mock apple pie. Not a culinary gourmet feast, but darn tasty all the same. Don't expect the brilliant comedy of "Young Frankenstein" or a groundbreaking cinematic breakthrough the likes of "Citizen Kane". Conversely, don't expect something just plain bad like "Corky Romano" or "Battlefield: Earth" either. So if you're in the mood for a tasty slice of mock apple pie, "Napoleon Dynamite" is right up your alley. B+

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