Anthony's Film Review

Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

A movie that I thought could have worked, but the laughs were minimal...

The only reason I saw Napoleon Dynamite was because I recalled at least ten people who have seen the movie and seemed to enjoy reciting quotes from it. One of them also had a Napoleon Dynamite talking pen. I wish I could remember what Napoleon Dynamite said from that pen, because that was the only reason I laughed at a few scenes from the movie.

The title character is a pathetic weirdo in Idaho, played by Jon Heder, who daydreams too much about fantasy worlds and mystical creatures, enough to verbally present a current event topic in class involving wizards and the Loch Ness monster. He has the same fixed expression of dullness at every moment. This is not a character whom you can root for by the end of the movie. You will forget about this guy when the movie is over.

Yet, there is one thing that I do like. He is sometimes funny because he could say the most absurd and weirdest things to anyone without any regard to their reaction. My favorite line in the movie, the one that made me laugh the most, involves a carton of milk, what kind it is, and the girl drinking it.

But I must tell you this right now. I didn't like the movie too much. The preceding was just one of only two things I liked about the movie. The other thing is a creative way of presenting the opening credits: using various objects like plates of food, drawings on notebook paper, and other small objects. That's it. The rest of the movie barely has a story. Or rather, it had material that could be a story but not developed into something we could focus on. If Napoleon was not in the scene, I usually got bored. If he was, I would giggle or laugh about half of the time.

Like him, Napoleon's family is also pathetic. His geeky brother Kip spends all his time with ladies in online chat rooms. Their grandmother doesn't seem to care. When she goes out and gets into an accident, Uncle Rico comes by to take over duties at home. However, he's just as bad as the grandmother. The family is quite dysfunctional and bizarre. The other characters include a new friend named Pedro, a shy girl named Deb, and the girl running for class president named Summer. Pedro is somewhat dull compared to Napoleon. Everyone else seems normal.

For one and a half hours, I laughed maybe ten times. That comes out to an average of about one laugh per nine minutes. I would have liked the movie a lot more if there were a story and likable supporting characters. Heck, I would still be happy if every single scene simply involved Napoleon saying the darnedest things, with or without a story. The way he says "Gosh!" or "Idiots!" is funny, and I really wanted to see more of that. But sadly, I can't seem to agree with the many people who liked Napoleon Dynamite. It is a movie that is highly overrated.

Anthony's Rating:

For more information about Napoleon Dynamite, visit the Internet Movie Database.


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