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Napoleon Dynamite

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Napoleon Dynamite

Starring: Jon Heder, Efren Ramirez
Director: Jared Hess
Rated: PG
RunTime: 86 Minutes
Release Date: June 2004
Genre: Comedy

*Also starring: Jonathan Gries, Aaron Ruell, Tina Majorino, Haylie Duff, Ellen Dubin, Emily Kennard, Sandy Martin, Diedrich Bader, Shondrella Avery

Review by Steve Rhodes
1 star out of 4

NAPOLEON DYNAMITE is cast with a bunch of unknowns -- actors who are unknown for good reasons. Like a reject for a TV movie, the film is an MTV production, although why they thought it deserved a theatrical release is beyond me. I suspect that they hoped audiences would embrace it as this generation's REVENGE OF THE NERDS. The lifeless production has little story development in evidence. Basically it is just a slice of loser life at a rural Idaho high school. In this school -- you will be shocked to discover -- the dorks aren't popular and have trouble getting elected president of the student body. (Stop me if you've heard this before.) These guys with no social graces, who act like stoners without the need for drugs, also have difficulty in getting the popular girls to go out with them.

A better title for the movie might be DORK AND DORKIER, as Napoleon Dynamite (Jon Heder) and his buddy Pedro (Efren Ramirez), a couple of DOA students, try to cope with the rigors of their high school's social structure. The script is so lame that it is unable to come up with a single credible villain to somehow mistreat our misfits and thereby gain our sympathy. Actually, we'd probably be rooting for the bad guys, if there were any.

Something like a reverse of LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE, the movie makes food so unappealing, especially meat, that it could be used as a recruitment film for Vegetarians International.

In his usual deadpan style, Napoleon sums up NAPOLEON DYNAMITE best in a comment he makes about his uncle's prized home video, one of his uncle tossing football after footfall into the distance. "This is pretty much the worst video ever made," Napoleon complains in disgust. I know exactly how he feels.

NAPOLEON DYNAMITE runs 1:26. It is rated PG for "thematic elements and language" and would be acceptable for kids around 11 and up.

Copyright 2004 Steve Rhodes

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