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Film Review: Napoleon Dynamite

September 27th, 2008

napoleon-dynamite-poster.jpgThis article by Patrick MacGougan is a review of the movie Napoleon Dynamite, an independent film produced in 2004 by Jeremy Coon, Sean Covel, and Chris Wyatt. Jon Heder stars as the main character Napoleon Dynamite, while a cast including Efren Ramirez, Tina Majorino, Aaron Ruell, Jon Gries, and Emily Tyndall play the various supporting roles. The movie is a rather offbeat comedy that deviates from the usual Hollywood style, but according to our reviewer manages to remain entertaining and appeals to a general audience.

Napoleon Dynamite is an interesting character, an alternative hero. He lacks charisma, attitude, fashion sense, and many other attributes which generally seem to appear in the stars of Hollywood movies. His life is going smoothly, he goes to school, finds entertainment by pulling an action figure on a string behind the bus, gets bullied, and returns home to his brother and grandmother. A number of events turn his life around slightly. His grandmother ends up in hospital following an extreme sports accident, making his Uncle Rico move in to look after them. This happens at the same time as Napoleon meets two new friends, Pedro and love interest Deb.

The film follows the quirky events as Pedro decides to run for class president and, with Napoleon’s help, attempts to beat the popular group. The storyline isn’t particularly groundbreaking, but the acting and script are not far short of genius. Jon Heder who plays Napoleon is not only funny in his acting, but provides a memorable dance at the climax of the film.

Pedro’s quest to become class president will not only make you laugh out loud, but you will begin to like the characters involved. He may not be the brightest, but Pedro has an innocent style which creates comical situations – for example, creating a piñata of his rival and inviting other students to hit it, without realizing he has done anything wrong. However, Pedro’s dialogue with Napoleon has a style which sometimes doesn’t move the story forward and seems to be there to simply create jokes.

This quirky look at a behind-the-times group of people appeals largely due to the unconventional humour used. Whilst this is the reason a lot of people enjoy the film, it is also reason to dislike it. Rather than following regular storylines and telling jokes that are easy to appreciate, the charm of Napoleon Dynamite is the crazy ways people behave and interact. It is not often that a film can be so different to what is regularly produced by the Hollywood industry and still appeal to a large number of people. Napoleon Dynamite somehow manages this, and you may find yourself watching the film over and over again, enjoying it more and more each time.

One Response to “Film Review: Napoleon Dynamite”

  1. comment number 1 by: Viveca

    I love this movie! Hilarious!

    I work with women who are recoverying from fatigue. Recently I’ve studied the health benefits of laughter, humor, smiles etc. There are few things more energizing than that trio and this film is sure to pump up anyone’s adrenals in the very best way!


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