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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
PG
Cast
Jon Heder
Efren Ramirez
Jon Gries
Aaron Ruell
Tina Majorino
Haylie Duff.
Directors
Jared Hess.
Screenwriters
Jared Hess
Jerusha Hess .
Running Time
82 minutes

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Napoleon Dynamite
Indie fave about a super-ginger dork who takes some getting used to, but is well worth the effort.


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Plot
Preston, Idaho's most curious resident, Napoleon Dynamite (Heder), lives with his grandmother, cruises chat rooms for girls, and vows to help his best friend, Pedro (Efren Ramirez), snatch the Student Body President title from mean teen Summer.


Review
Picture a redhead so carroty he makes Chris Evans look blond. Add a vacantly sagging jaw, half-closed eyes and the gait of an orang-utan, and you have Napoleon Dynamite, an appropriate title character for such a self-consciously bizarro indie comedy.

Director/co-writer Jared Hess revels in sketching middle-American misfits, and he does it well. Napoleon's brother is a pale chat room obsessive; his uncle is an ageing Chuck Norris-a-like forever reliving his high school football glory days. The entire town, meanwhile, seems stuck in an '80s timewarp, the kind of place a form of self-defence known as 'Rex Kwon Do' - promoted by a mulleted man called Rex - can gain a following.

Much of the comedy comes from the fact that everyone believes they're really cool dudes. Yet they're not all that likeable, Napoleon himself having a petulant streak that makes him tough to root for. The near-absence of plot doesn't help, as Napoleon meanders through intensely quirky set-pieces without any sense that this is taking us anywhere.

Still, the vast, lonely Idaho landscapes are beautifully shot and you can't deny the characters' indelibility, making this a flawed but credible debut for Hess that should replicate its culty Stateside popularity over here.


Verdict
As long as you don't mind making fun of the afflicted, there are some killer comic moments.


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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Napoleon Dynamite
Empire Star Rating

Love it.

I'm a fan. Don't know why but there was just something about it. This one is like marmite., you love it or you don't. Can't believe how much hate there is from the people who don't like it. You watch it, don't like it then you move on. The swearing, the hate towards people who like it on a lot of other forums. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Shinymetalass at 11:01, 10 January 2012 | Report This Post


Love it.

I'm a fan. Don't know why but there was just something about it. This one is like marmite., you love it or you don't. Can't believe how much hate there is from the people who don't like it. You watch it, don't like it then you move on. The swearing, the hate towards people who like it on a lot of other forums. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Shinymetalass at 11:01, 10 January 2012 | Report This Post


LOL

The first paragraph of this review made me choke on my coffee. funny film ... More

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Posted by 7eke at 14:15, 24 August 2010 | Report This Post


Hillarous

This film is great however I would like to point out that in the plot summary it is written that Napoleon 'cruises chat rooms for girls' when in actual fact it is his brother Kip that goes online and has cyber communication with 'babes'. I know this a small error but viewers may be disappointed when they belive that Napoleon is going to chat up girls online and then actually doesn't. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Woodpecker Two at 20:27, 18 March 2010 | Report This Post


Sitting on the Edge of my Seat ...

The title is misleading. It's not dynamite and nor is the main protagonist. I began watching the movie in a good frame of mind, at the end, I was almost asleep. I'm a firm believer that films must be watched until the end credits roll. Napoleon Dynamite challenged that belief, strongly. I was sitting on the edge of my seat, ready to turn it off and walk away without a care about what happened to any of the boring and clearly incapable characters. The only thing I gained from this movie is how t... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ABelleHood at 04:51, 10 February 2010 | Report This Post


Dont Fall Into The Trap

Indisputably, this is a cult classic but do not make the common mistake of that label meaning the film is any good. Sadly, the film although funny in places is a self indulgence and smug piece of work with the whole 'indie for indie's sake' vibe. From my experience people claim it is funny and 'a friggin masterpiece' because of other friends and critics claiming it is. From start to finish i got the whole joke of the film and felt somewhat saddened by the time i had wasted. There is no real plo... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by concept mike at 21:11, 08 September 2008 | Report This Post


Can you bring me my chapstick?

I'm not sure any film has ever been so funny while doing absolutely nothing. Still it gives moments of truth about school dynamics and geekdom. Most of the comedy is blink-and-you-miss-it. Watch closely.... ... More

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Posted by I Miss Sunshine at 10:41, 05 August 2008 | Report This Post


5 stars for complete originality and some new jokes and phrases to laugh at. ... More

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Posted by SuperTONES at 13:05, 23 May 2008 | Report This Post


perfect ... More

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Posted by shawshank prisoner at 21:06, 07 April 2008 | Report This Post


Vote For Napoleon!

This film is totally hilarious! All the perfomaces are top-notch funny and the music is brillant. The whole thing is so great that it still stuck in the eighties and that's perfect for something like this. The comments are really funny and the quick one-liners are sharp and fast. In all, the best indie film for a long time. Vote for Napoleon Dynamite 2! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by joanna likes films at 14:55, 21 February 2008 | Report This Post


fantastic!

An absolute gem here and a new star in the making John Header that I am sure will be around for a long long time!! My friend told me to watch this ages ago and I wish that I had listened to her cause I can't believe what I was missing out on! Great fiolm, great soundtrack and an original idea, do a film from the geeks point of view! Classic! And to all of you people that diddn't like it, in the words of N.D himself: "You're such an idiot, Gosh!" ... More

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Posted by Empo at 12:48, 10 October 2007 | Report This Post


F**king crap don't bother ... More

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Posted by A Man at 20:09, 19 September 2007 | Report This Post


Pretty much my favourite film

Plot: Erm… yeah, I’m sure it has a plot. But not really, which is why its so brilliant. There is something about a hapless nerd helping his Mexican friend to be Class President. But hey. Everyone can relate to someone from Napoleon Dynamite, whether it be the titular nerd, complete with tight ‘fro and geeky catchphrases, or his brother who spends all day on the internet, the silly assortment of characters that make up the genius that is Napoleon Dynamite are all somewhat ... More

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Posted by swordsandsandals at 13:51, 07 September 2007 | Report This Post


It's shit ... More

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Posted by willchadwick at 19:33, 06 August 2007 | Report This Post


Best film ever!!

Napoleon Dynamite Is possibly the funniest film ever made, such scenes as the pork chop to the face and such memorable lines as "i like your sleeves" firmly cement it in comic history. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by liamforrest at 14:51, 13 April 2007 | Report This Post


a friggin' masterpiece

Sheer genius right from the off, this is one of those comedies where it doesn't matter one iota what the plot is, because the characters are so solid, and so fully understood by the makers of the film that ANYTHING they do is a joy. Absolute proof that quality comedy comes from character, and not from a self-conscious, strained zaniness that is infecting a lot of comedy these days. Pure gold, and delivers some of the most unlikely-and-yet-amazing lines you will come across. "The worst day o... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by lennybaby_2000 at 20:37, 21 March 2007 | Report This Post


Freakin idiots!

The Freakin idiots title is because of the plot which is pretty crap. But there is some laugh-out-loud moments here. Pretty good stuff. ... More

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Posted by rockerjo at 17:30, 15 December 2006 | Report This Post


It ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!

The first time I watched the film, I watched from the middle onwards and after five minutes I felt confused 'cause I wasn't sure which direction the film was going. But after watchng all the way through i found it *EXTREMELY* funny and I think it's one of the best films ever. You have to be able to understand the character Napoleon before you can fully appreciate the humour within the film. Each time I watch it I keel over with laughter. Anyone who doesn't like the film- simply doesn't have a go... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bollyfan at 19:09, 05 July 2006 | Report This Post


RE: Napoleon Dynamite

I loved it, had to raise a few eyebrows now and then but the random acts and 'shut up!'s kept me chukling. Add to that the crazy bike trick and the dancing - whats not to love. I watched a trailer for Jack Blacks new mex-wres movie (I forget the name) last night and  both me and my girlfriend were instantly reminded of ND. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by 23skidoo at 16:28, 24 June 2006 | Report This Post


RE: Napoleon Dynamite

i watched the film in italy with my italian girlfriend (at the time) and a bunch of her friends they put the language on Italian and had English Subtitiles for me.   It was a strange way to watch a strange and funny film.nbsp;  ... More

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Posted by punchdrunk at 15:01, 24 June 2006 | Report This Post


RE: Napoleon Dynamite

Napoleon Dynamite proves that funny doesn't need a plot. Who ever gave a shit about the plot in a Marx Brothers film, or cared if Airplane had a happy ending? The plot, such as it is, seems to be about just finding something to do with your time in a dead end town, and speaking as one who lives in one, they've got it spot on. It also exposes the emptiness of the notion of 'COOL'. Everyone in the movie seems to be under the misapprehension that they are 'it', even Napoleon never seems to... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by nicholsonsmhead at 14:52, 24 June 2006 | Report This Post


RE: Napoleon Dynamite

The dancing is hilarious, but even better is that bit where you just see him practising through the gap in the bedroom door. Awesome stuff. Then there's the BMX stunt (don't want to spoil it here) and his special drawing. It's a comedy gem and well worth it in the cheap HMV sale. ... More

Posted by oogieboogie at 20:13, 23 June 2006 | Report This Post


RE: Napoleon Dynamite

This film is great! "I can do whatever i wanna do! GOSH!" LOL  ... More

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Posted by thierryhenry14 at 19:40, 23 June 2006 | Report This Post


RE: Napoleon Dynamite

This movie is great there really isnt much plot but he is probly one of the best comedys i have seen in ages ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by zombiemaster at 21:18, 21 June 2006 | Report This Post


RE: Napoleon Dynamite

This film is so funny, some of the lines aren't even funny, it's just the way he says them all. Jon Heder is a comic legend just for that performance. I love it when he starts dancing on the stage. ... More

Posted by wdruck at 18:15, 20 June 2006 | Report This Post


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