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Napoleon Dynamite

About.com Rating 3 Star Rating


Napoleon Dynamite
Gosh! It's "Napoleon Dynamite," a trashy Midwestern remake of "Rushmore" with lots of wry laughs, bad food, and a pet llama called Tina. Written and directed by the young husband-wife team Jared and Jerusha Hess, the film was an audience favorite at Sundance and won Best Feature at the US Comedy Arts Festival.
The formula is almost identical to Wes Anderson's brilliant film: take an oddball outsider with lots of energy and bizarre ideas, give him a funny sidekick, a peculiar family, a geeky love interest, an immature adult antagonist, and plop him into a high school crawling with bullies, jocks, bad fashion, bad food, and all the other nostalgic detritus of American adolescence. Steep in deadpan humor and wry jokes, add just a pinch of truth, and you've got yourself a high school hit.

At the film's center, Jon Heder plays the droopy-eyed hero of the title. But he's no Jason Schwartzmann, and Jon Gries as Uncle Rico can't compete with Bill Murray. Perhaps this comparison isn't quite fair either--"Napoleon Dynamite" is much sillier than "Rushmore," and some of the jokes are gutbustingly funny. While it doesn't add anything new to the formula, it's a genuinely hilarious comedy.
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