Critic Reviews



Based on 36 critic reviews provided by
Film Threat
The cast playing these eccentric characters is magnificent...This is definitely one of the most unique comedies you’ll see all year.
Village Voice
Thrusts us into a high school senior year like no other.
Hess and his terrific cast -- Heder is geek perfection -- make their own kind of deadpan hilarity. You'll laugh till it hurts. Sweet.
There's plenty of humor in the film, but the movie is often a little uncomfortable to watch, and Napoleon is not an easy guy to like. Rooting for him takes effort.
An absurdist piece about a rural community of clueless cretins who careen through life like poorly played pinballs, Napoleon Dynamite represents the definition of the comedy of condescension and ridicule.
The A.V. Club
Sure, it quickly turns into a one-note exercise in laughing at the yokels, but at least it has a vision.
The performances, even those by trained actors like Mr. Ramirez and Ms. Majorino, have the hesitant, blinking opacity that some directors look for in nonprofessional casts. Their awkwardness is charming, and part of the point of the movie, but it also makes for some dull stretches and thwarts your ability to regard the characters with sympathy rather than mere curiosity.
A one-note, lightweight, condescending comedy about the rubes of Idaho.
Entertainment Weekly
Filmmaker Jared Hess (who cowrote the script with his wife, Jerusha Hess) installs Napoleon front and center as a punchline in and of himself -- and as that dispiriting product of narrative defeat, a symbol.
If Napoleon Dynamite really is, as reported, a semiautobiographical exercise, it is one of the most astoundingly self-hating such exercises in memory.

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