• PG, 1 hr. 26 min.
  • Comedy
  • Directed By:
    Jared Hess
    In Theaters:
    Jun 11, 2004 Limited
    On DVD:
    Dec 21, 2004
  • Fox Searchlight Pictures


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Napoleon Dynamite Reviews

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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There is a kind of studied stupidity that sometimes passes as humor, and Jared Hess' Napoleon Dynamite pushes it as far as it can go.

Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Original Score: 1.5/4

June 18, 2004
Larry Carroll

Like a confused film school student, director Jared Hess is happy to pay homage to his film heroes, but doesn't have enough passion to say much of anything in his own voice.

Full Review Source: FilmStew.com | Original Score: F

June 12, 2004
James Rocchi

This quirky-nerdy, heartland-set tale of a teen outcast's life and dorky times fizzles.

Full Review Source: Netflix | Original Score: 2/5

June 17, 2004
Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The joke is always the same, and even the most easily amused may grow weary of that sameness.

February 18, 2004
Austin O'Connor
Lowell Sun

A few minutes in, we know all the punchlines.

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4

June 21, 2004
Nick Schager
Lessons of Darkness

Functions like an excruciating episode of Jerry Springer.

Full Review Source: Lessons of Darkness | Original Score: D

May 4, 2005
Jeff Otto

One of the more bizarre and original characters in recent memory, Napoleon provides some great laughs despite an uneven story that often loses steam.

Full Review Source: cinemaobsession.com | Original Score: 3/5

June 17, 2004
Todd McCarthy
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There are lots of laughs for those who enjoy the sight of bottom dwellers doing stupid things that make them look even more idiotic.

Full Review Source: Variety

June 2, 2004
Brian Orndorf

It's an empty, affected experience, and a 5-minute joke stretched out to 85 of the most soul-sucking, higher-power-questioning minutes found in a movie this year.

Full Review Source: FilmJerk.com | Original Score: F

July 3, 2004
Jim Lane
Sacramento News & Review

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?

Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review | Original Score: 2/5

August 7, 2008
Joshua Tyler

Jared Hess pushes Napoleon's stupidity as far as it can go in pursuit of cheap laughs, but achieves nothing that isn't easily forgettable.

Full Review Source: CinemaBlend.com | Original Score: 2.5/5

July 4, 2004
Felix Vasquez Jr.
Cinema Crazed

Just incredibly mind-numbing and unfunny...

Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed

April 29, 2009
Joe Lozito
Big Picture Big Sound

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.

Full Review Source: Big Picture Big Sound | Original Score: 1/4

December 27, 2007
Willie Waffle

Napoleon and his pals aren't the heroes of a Bruce Springsteen song who get up every morning and go to work each day. They're knuckleheads.

Full Review Source: WaffleMovies.com | Original Score: 1/4

June 17, 2004
Gabriel Shanks
Mixed Reviews

The most fascinating outcast since Harold and Maude. Trouble is, Harold and Maude were going someplace; their story had a direction.

Full Review Source: Mixed Reviews | Original Score: B-

June 3, 2004
Jeanne Aufmuth
Palo Alto Weekly

Mistakes insults for jests and racism for narrative guile.

| Original Score: 1/4

June 12, 2004
Rich Cline
Shadows on the Wall

Bubbles with barely suppressed loathing for its characters and setting.

Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall | Original Score: 1.5/5

November 4, 2004
John J. Puccio
Movie Metropolis

...makes a good attempt for about its first quarter hour at showing us the dilemma of the high school outsider.

Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis | Original Score: 5/10

December 14, 2004
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The 2004 Sundance crowd-pleaser has got the tableaux suitable for Diane Arbus photos down pat, but no real interest in the people negotiating those life situations.

Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly | Original Score: C-

June 9, 2004
Mike Clark
USA Today
Top Critic IconTop Critic

In Fourth of July terms, its pop is less dynamite than firecracker.

Full Review Source: USA Today | Original Score: 2.5/4

June 10, 2004
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