Napoleon Dynamite - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Napoleon Dynamite Reviews

Top Critic
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
July 24, 2007
For most of its length this delivers a steady stream of uncomfortable gut laughs.
Top Critic
Dave Calhoun
Time Out
June 24, 2006
It's a cast of brilliant caricatures, and as such recalls the films of Wes Anderson.
Top Critic
Amy Biancolli
Houston Chronicle
July 21, 2005
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.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Top Critic
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
July 16, 2004
The funniest film of the summer.
| Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
July 16, 2004
As slight as the picture is, though, its hero is an indelible creation.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
July 2, 2004
An independent take on a Hollywood tradition, undermined by its cliches but saved by its performances.
| Original Score: C+
Top Critic
Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
July 2, 2004
May be the most condescending comedy ever to imagine itself being too cool for the room.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
Top Critic
Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
July 1, 2004
Has more belly laughs than 10 studio-produced, star-vehicle comedies.
| Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Jeff Strickler
Minneapolis Star Tribune
July 1, 2004
Calling this story about a quirky high-school student from a dysfunctional family who lives in a goofy small town a one-joke movie is exaggerating by a factor of 10.
Full Review | Original Score: 0.5/4
Top Critic
Tom Keogh
Seattle Times
June 25, 2004
Heder is magnificent, but the film's flat, eccentric tone is Hess' overarching achievement.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
June 25, 2004
The movie merits a low-wattage recommendation even though it's short on things to say.
| Original Score: B-
Top Critic
Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
June 25, 2004
Has a sweet momentum.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Scott Von Doviak
Fort Worth Star-Telegram/DFW.com
June 25, 2004
A landmark achievement in curdled nostalgia, but the whole enterprise leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
Top Critic
Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
June 24, 2004
Even if you don't like the film and its freak-show depiction of small-town life, it's hard not to admire the commitment of Jon Heder's performance.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Top Critic
Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
June 24, 2004
When the audience roared at Napoleon's almost spastic way of slicing the air with his limp-spaghetti arms, I cringed.
| Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
June 18, 2004
It's not as hilarious as it thinks it is, and it's sometimes too weird for words, but it is often pretty funny.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Carla Meyer
San Francisco Chronicle
June 18, 2004
There's no cohesive story, just a series of opportunities for the title character to strut his gawky stuff.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
June 18, 2004
Has nerd chic.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
June 18, 2004
An inspired dead-end stunt that keeps delivering snarky laughs far longer than it has any right to.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Desson Thomson
Washington Post
June 18, 2004
I laughed. And I laughed primarily over Heder's hilarious performance.
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
June 18, 2004
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 | Original Score: 1.5/4
Top Critic
Stephen Hunter
Washington Post
June 18, 2004
One of the most winning movie creations in years.
Top Critic
Glenn Lovell
San Jose Mercury News
June 17, 2004
No-frills celebration of cluelessness.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
June 17, 2004
This is the sort of Sundance audience hit that doesn't necessarily travel.
| Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
June 17, 2004
Too low-wattage to be a true nerd anthem, but it's charming in retrospect, when you're freed from the narcoleptic pace to think back on the queerly beautiful tableaux and well-timed gags.
Top Critic
Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
June 14, 2004
I'm cracking up already thinking about that uncle again, who is obsessed with 1982.
Top Critic
Lisa Rose
Newark Star-Ledger
June 11, 2004
While these kinds of stories often drown in their own eccentricity, the cast keeps the film afloat.
Top Critic
Lou Lumenick
New York Post
June 11, 2004
A little movie with a lot of heart and a lot of laughs.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News
June 11, 2004
Hess' deadpan debut could have been so much better if only he'd had the courage to actually appreciate his loser characters.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Kevin Crust
Los Angeles Times
June 10, 2004
It's a simple collection of sight gags and pratfalls that mines the overly familiar turf of awkward adolescence without bringing anything truly original to the experience.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/5
Top Critic
A.O. Scott
New York Times
June 10, 2004
A small-scale, deadpan film.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Mike Clark
USA Today
June 10, 2004
In Fourth of July terms, its pop is less dynamite than firecracker.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Gene Seymour
Newsday
June 10, 2004
Maybe if I weren't as far removed from high school as I am now, I'd be much more into the movie's warped depiction of teenage wasteland.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Scott Foundas
L.A. Weekly
June 10, 2004
A thrift-shop Wes Anderson pastiche masquerading as the latest in cult-film haute couture.
Top Critic
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
June 9, 2004
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 | Original Score: C-
Top Critic
Michael Atkinson
Village Voice
June 8, 2004
An epic, magisterially observed pastiche on all-American geekhood, flooring the competition with a petulant shove.
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
June 6, 2004
With a low-key sense of humor and without the slightest whiff of sentimentality, Hess delivers a film about geeks that makes Revenge of the Nerds look like the Hollywood tripe that it is.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
June 3, 2004
You'll laugh till it hurts.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Todd McCarthy
Variety
June 2, 2004
There are lots of laughs for those who enjoy the sight of bottom dwellers doing stupid things that make them look even more idiotic.
Top Critic
Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
February 18, 2004
The joke is always the same, and even the most easily amused may grow weary of that sameness.