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Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

tomatometer

67

Average Rating: 5.8/10
Critic Reviews: 39
Fresh: 26 | Rotten: 13

A charming, quirky, and often funny comedy.

audience

74

liked it
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 786,693

My Rating

Movie Info

The directorial debut of filmmaker Jared Hess, who also co-wrote the screenplay, Napoleon Dynamite is a quirky, offbeat comedy set in the small Idaho town of Preston. Jon Heder stars in the titular role, a carrot-topped oddball with a decidedly eccentric family that includes his llama-loving, dune-buggy enthusiast grandmother. The story centers on the local high school's race for class president. Using some nontraditional means, Napoleon is determined to help his pal Pedro (Efrem Ramirez) run a

PG,

Comedy

Jared Hess, Jerusha Hess

Dec 21, 2004

$44.5M

Fox Searchlight Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (169) | Top Critics (39) | Fresh (120) | Rotten (49) | DVD (38)

For most of its length this delivers a steady stream of uncomfortable gut laughs.

July 24, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's a cast of brilliant caricatures, and as such recalls the films of Wes Anderson.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
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Napoleon Dynamite may be forcefully weird and intermittently humorous, and you might not know what the heck to make of it, but there's nothing shocking about its screenplay.

July 21, 2005 Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle
Houston Chronicle
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The funniest film of the summer.

July 16, 2004 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
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As slight as the picture is, though, its hero is an indelible creation.

July 16, 2004 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
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An independent take on a Hollywood tradition, undermined by its cliches but saved by its performances.

July 2, 2004
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The approach has all the lasting charm of a train derailment, but at least the train is going somewhere before it is brought to disaster.

March 24, 2014 Full Review Source: Cinemaphile.org
Cinemaphile.org

For all its charm and its impeccable leads, Napoleon Dynamite is a modish exercise in anti-cool. Still, a strong debut for all its young talents.

November 8, 2011 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

One-of-a-kind high school comedy for the family.

December 26, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media | Comments (2)
Common Sense Media

Napoleon's climactic spaz-out dance is more than just a goofy gag. It's a payoff to a great buddy-system comedy and the idea that it's not high school's dreams and regrets that last, but the sometimes-bizarre friendships.

September 19, 2010 Full Review Source: Suite101.com
Suite101.com

too odd to dismiss and often truly funny

August 22, 2010 Full Review Source: Cinema Writer
Cinema Writer

Just incredibly mind-numbing and unfunny...

April 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed | Comments (3)
Cinema Crazed

Napoleon Dynamite may not even be friggin' sweet, but it does have skills. [Blu-ray]

February 10, 2009 Full Review Source: Groucho Reviews
Groucho Reviews

The characters are all weird and nothing much happens in Napoleon Dynamite, yet this droll and understated geek-comedy zings with truth.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Heder seems perversely bored, unable to hold his eyes open; was that a conscious acting choice, or was he simply reading his lines off the floor?

August 7, 2008 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review | Comments (4)
Sacramento News & Review

Writer-director Jared Hess tries for John Hughes by way of the Coen Brothers, but only comes up with one dull, unfunny non-sequitur after another.

December 27, 2007 Full Review Source: Big Picture Big Sound
Big Picture Big Sound

If you have an indie film sense of humor -- and those of you who have it know what I mean -- you'll probably enjoy this flick.

November 2, 2006
Christianity Today

Seething with teen-angst irritability and an obstinate blind ignorance to just how much of an outcast he is, Napoleon Dynamite may be the biggest dork in the history of high school movies.

May 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

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

April 1, 2006 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Delights in deadpan %u2013 celebrates nerd. And is a testament that beauty can be found everywhere. A charming, albeit quite odd cinematic piece. Harold and Maude -lite.

March 20, 2006 Full Review Source: Hollywood Report Card
Hollywood Report Card

I began to appreciate the neat reversals of expectations, slow pace and serene non sequiturs of the plot, the film's smart approach towards teen alienation, ludicrous ambition and impossible dreams.

January 17, 2006 Full Review Source: Sydney Morning Herald
Sydney Morning Herald

Napoleon Dynamite isn't exactly the year's funniest film, but it does make for a memorable experience that can be enjoyed over and over again.

July 5, 2005 Full Review Source: Bullz-Eye.com
Bullz-Eye.com

Leave this one for the dogs.

June 21, 2005 Full Review Source: FromTheBalcony | Comments (3)

Audience Reviews for Napoleon Dynamite

Napoleon Dynamite is based on a series of skits that were showcased on MTV and feature a buck-toothed, slack-jawed high school nerd who lives in a fantasy world of his own construction. It's an affectionate parody of small town America in the "triumph of the geek" tradition in which the social outcasts find happiness and acceptance in the face of abuse and derision by their more popular peers. It's more gently amusing than laugh out loud funny as it's just a series of surreal skits revolving around Napoleon and his family's social awkwardness but it's a lot more likeable than most American comedies of this type because it avoids the usual formula of hateful middle class yobs and their bodily secretions amidst vile misogyny that has become the staple of the genre since American Pie sullied our screens. Quirky, silly, inoffensive fun.
January 30, 2013
garyX
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

There was a time when I couldn't go a day without seeing a few 'Vote For Pedro' shirts. Not only is this film so quotable, it's also hilarious and offers many memorable characters. Although, it is very bizarre and the humor may not appeal to everyone. But the originality of it makes it stand out over many other comedies. "Napoleon Dynamite" is destined to be remembered as a comedy classic and rightly so!
October 15, 2012
Market Man
Eric Shankle

Super Reviewer

Strange, funny and rare comedy, Napoleon Dynamite present a deadpan humor with a very good screenplay and direction by Jared and Jerusha Hess, just like the acting of the cast, especially by Jon Heder in the title role and Aaron Ruell as Kip. Napoleon Dynamite it's the kind of film that you want see more, but a sequel gonna be just worse. Charming and delighful. Fresh.
June 11, 2012
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

By no means perfect but not without it's charm. It's a very weird indie comedy that deserves it's cult status and doesn't beg the audience for laughs or resort to using gross humour. It's consistent enough with the comedy enough but Jon Heder's remarkable performance is what's pretty entertaining.
January 17, 2012
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

    1. Napoleon Dynamite: Tina you fat lard.
    – Submitted by Daisy B (3 months ago)
    1. Deb: Is there anyone else here? I'm trying to save money for college.
    2. Kip: Your mom goes to college!
    – Submitted by Cody H (13 months ago)
    1. Napoleon Dynamite: I don't even have any skills.
    2. Pedro: What do you mean?
    3. Napoleon Dynamite: You know, like nunchuck skills, bo hunting skills, computer hacking skills. Girls only like guys who have great skills.
    – Submitted by Cody H (13 months ago)
    1. Trisha: [Trisha's dad] What's what in my driveway?
    2. Napoleon Dynamite: That's my ride.
    – Submitted by Shen S (18 months ago)
    1. Napoleon Dynamite: Stay home and eat all the freakin chips Kip!
    – Submitted by Jacob H (19 months ago)
    1. Napoleon Dynamite: Tina, you fat lard, eat your dinner!
    – Submitted by Baran K (22 months ago)
View all quotes (41)

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Napoleon Dynamite Gets Animated in New TV Show
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October 2, 2006:
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