Wednesday 26th January 2022

Napoleon Dynamite (PG)
Directed by: Jared Hess
Reviewed by: Paul Fonz

Taking a break from commercial blockbusters this week, Napoleon Dynamite is a film with much more of an independent feel about it. I love films like this, although it always amazes me that they get made and distributed at all nowadays, as the movie making industry moves further away from low budget films that break the mould.

Yes, it's as weird as it looks
Yes, it's as weird as it looks

Like many independent films, this one is basically a movie by people you've never heard of starring people you've never heard of, and not a lot happens in it. But I'd be selling it short if I left it at that.

Napoleon Dynamite is what can only be described as a "geek", with bad dress sense and worse hair, few friends and a permanently slack-jawed expression. He shares a house with his equally pathetic brother, who spends his time chatting on the Internet and indulging in on-line dating.

The main events of the film take place around a high school dance and an election for Class President, but the movie is really about lonely people trying to get along in the world. The crazy characters and the unusual events in the film are tragically funny, from the middle aged football nut who wants to travel back in time so he can turn pro, to Napoleon and his Mexican friend Pedro, both of whom never smile.

Right from the quirky introduction all the way through to the end, this film is unusual, charming and funny, albeit in a very subtle way. If you liked Swingers or Chasing Amy, then perhaps this kind of indie film will be to your taste, but it's certainly not going to cut it for a mainstream audience. So as much as I enjoyed this film, I don't think I can recommend most people to see it.

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Length: 82 minutes
Certificate: PG
Official Site:
IMDB Link:
Release Date: 26th December 2004

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