Napoleon Dynamite - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Napoleon Dynamite Reviews

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½ December 9, 2017
A Nerd Unheard Of
The phrase "Ugh" perfectly describes the attitude of Napoleon Dynamite, the stereotypical high school reject. He finds himself surrounded by idiots, the only sensible person in the small town of Preston, Idaho. He struggles to comprehend why people don't believe his stories about killing wolverines or why his nunchuck skills go completely unnoticed. In short, it's as if a "local wizard" placed a spell over his whole freakin' school so they just don't understand how awesome he is. Just like Napoleon's classmates, I think the world fails to grasp how amazing Napoleon is! Not only is the movie hilarious, it also tells a story of the underdog, one of the greatest and most real underdogs I've seen. Napoleon is shunned and rejected at school, but he still manages to pull off some amazing things. He tells us that no matter how weird or nerdy you may think you are, you can still make it in life and be happy.

The movie is essentially a large Youtube compilation of funny moments, all strung together in a somewhat coherent plot. You might wonder, "Doesn't this fly in the face of what a movie really is? How can this be seen as quality entertainment when compared to lengthy, well-fleshed out films?" Well, perhaps you should expand your idea of what a movie is! Can't movies not only be made to inspire awe and to engage, but also to enliven and energize through humor? Napoleon is one of the most hilarious and quotable movies I've ever seen, a movie that can get a whole room of people laughing with one reference! It is also a crippling, yet common mistake, to underestimate this movie as a tale of meaning. The movie puts us in the shoes of a high school reject and shows us how he can overcome his insecurities and weaknesses. While its tone is mostly jovial, Napoleon Dynamite actually tells a rich, constructive story.

A scene early in the movie gives us insight, providing us with these dialogues:
(some lines are excluded)

Napoleon: "Hey, can I use your guys's phone for a sec?"
Office Lady: "Is something wrong?"
Napoleon: "I don't feel very good."

Kip [Napoleon's older brother]: "Hi"
Napoleon: "Is Grandma there?"
Kip: "No, she's getting her hair done."
Napoleon: "Ughhhhhhhh"
Napoleon: "Just tell her to come get me."
Kip: "Why?"
Napoleon: "Cause I don't feel good!"
Kip: "Well, have you talked to the school nurse?"
Napoleon: "No, she doesn't know anything. Will you just come get me?"
Kip: "No."
Napoleon: "Can you bring me my chapstick?"
Kip: "No, Napoleon."
Napoleon: "But my lips hurt real bad!"
Kip: "Just borrow some from the school nurse, I know she has like 5 sticks in her drawer."
Napoleon: "I'm not gonna use hers, you sicko!"
Kip: "See ya."
[Kip hangs up]
Napoleon: "Ugh! Idiot!"

To me, there is no better way to show the hilarity of Napoleon than by quoting. These conversations show the comedic relationship between Napoleon and his older brother, Kip. In addition to showing Napoleon's and Kip's laughable personalities, this dialogue displays a strained familial relationship. It tells us that things aren't perfect in Napoleon's home. This is supported when we fail to see Napoleon's parents at any point during the movie. The dialogue reinforces that this movie is not only hilarious, but also tells us about an underdog with an imperfect life, an underdog that, in spite of the strikes against him, manages to find happiness.

Now that you've met Napoleon and Kip, it's time that you meat Uncle Rico (pun intended, it'll make sense later). He is called in to watch Napoleon and Kip after their grandmother, in Uncle Rico's words, "broke her coccyx". Bluntly put, Rico is a broken record. We learn that he was a quarterback for a football team in '82 and that, had the coach put him in fourth quarter, his life would be much different. After all this time, he still believes in his athletic talent; this he catches on film, just to prove to the world, and to himself, that he could've won that football game. Rico also fails to move past the steak he eats almost every meal (now the pun makes sense). Napoleon and Uncle Rico antagonize each other all throughout the movie, making for some hilarious, but also thoughtful, moments. It seemed like Grandma was the one person that didn't bother Napoleon, at least not to the degree that others do. How must have Napoleon felt when she was taken from him so suddenly, being left with an uncle that was out to get him? Uncle Rico turns out as sort of an antagonist, causing serious problems in Napoleon's life. Even though Uncle Rico's presence offers unlimited laughs, it also acts as an obstacle for Napoleon to overcome, a catalyst for him to grow and find happiness.

Now for the innumerable hilarious moments and quotes in Napoleon Dynamite. There is a point in the movie where Kip and Uncle Rico team up to make some extra money. To do this, they sell plates and cups to unsuspecting neighbors. During a sale, Rico promises that a mini sailboat would be included with a twenty-four piece set of tableware. Useless, isn't it? To our surprise, however, the wife leans over to his husband and urgently whispers "I want that". The husband then confirms that this sailboat is indeed included in the twenty-four piece set. To show the unmatched strength of the plastic bowl included in the set, Rico asks the husband to try and tear the bowl, which he is unable to do. We then cut to a scene where Kip tries the same maneuver with his client, instead testing the plastic against the wheel of a car. "Dang it!" Kip exclaims: he drives away, leaving both his client and the remnants of the crushed bowl behind. Another great moment of this movie occurs when Napoleon claims that Kip just sits around all day. Kip replies, "You're just jealous I've been chatting with babes online all day". The doorbell rings and Napoleon slaps Kip, per his challenge, before answering. A girl named Deb stands at the door and explains that she is selling homemade trinkets to make money for college. In response to her explanation, Kip shouts, "Your mom goes to college". Deeply scarred, Deb drops her "crap" on Napoleon's porch and makes an awkward run for it. Moments like these are what make the movie worth watching and they're peppered through the entire experience. Notice, however, that most of these moments have a problem. Kip chatting with babes gets in the way of Napoleon's respect for his brother. Kip's shouted comment shows us what treatment goes around in Napoleon's home. As for the first scene, that's just hilarious. But these other scenes show us again and again that things aren't right in Napoleon's life. He is the underdog because he is under the thumb of Kip and Uncle Rico, as well as the bullies and "popular" kids at school. At one point, Napoleon asks a popular girl if she would play a game with him; she shakes her head, perplexed that someone like him would even ask someone like her to do that. She leaves. Napoleon is treated poorly by many, and he tends to treat others the same way in return. The power of this movie comes when he learns to love, trust, and act in kindness.

It is true that Napoleon's relationship with Kip and Uncle Rico, along with the hilarious snapchots scattered throughout the movie, make it worth watching. It is also true that the uplifting message found in the movie, that anyone can be happy in life, no matter how unlikely it may seem, makes the movie worth watching. Finally, it is true that I simply don't have the space or the ability to convey the quality of Napoleon Dynamite! The way that I explain these scenes simply doesn't do them justice. I even have to leave out a ton of scenes, such as the orange-throwing, the cow-shooting, the epic dance, the tater tots, the delayed kick, and countless others. These scenes, along with the ones I've shared, create a picture of humor and a picture of hope. I can't fully capture the goodness of Napoleon Dynamite, but he has fully captured my adoration.
September 3, 2017
An average comedy movie. Definetly overrated in my opinion but its atleast watchable.
½ September 2, 2017
No plot. Felt like I was listening to Liam Like Sullivan (creator of 'Shoes/Let me Borrow That Top') in slow motion the whole film. Some satisfaction from the parody of middle class America culture.
August 16, 2017
Undoubtedly charming in nature, and it does gain a few laughs, but it honestly is one of the worst movies I have ever seen, quality wise. I give it a meh.
½ August 14, 2017
Charming and Quirky, Napoleon Dynamite is funny, yet kinda weird.
July 23, 2017
Napoleon Dynamite is not your average comedy. The characters personalities and look are weird and un relatable yet you still love the characters. The quirky lines are amazingly funny and movie itself makes you feel good inside. Napoleon Dynamite will go down as a cult classic.
July 18, 2017
I caught you a delicious bass.
... Your wildest dreams will come true.
Tina, you fat slob, come get your dinner. Gosh!
July 16, 2017
I love this movie. It is one of my all time favorites, coming from a person that is not into comedies all that much. It is probably the most quotable movies i have ever seen. It has it's own unique sense of humor that will turn a lot of people off. It is filled with great laughs and moments as well as the best dance sequence ever. Definitely worth your time.
½ July 10, 2017
American Idol was a pollutant that exposed us to sickness. This movie is what struck America with cancer. George W. Bush's 2004 election brought us to our deathbed and the economic collapse of 2008 is when America officially died!
July 8, 2017
I certainly found some moments in this movie to be humorous. It's a strange movie because it really doesn't have a story. It is pretty much a series of random events, but I feel that is part of the point. It's a lot of really strange and goofy humor, and if that's your thing, you'll have a good time with it. There are certainly funnier movies out there, but I don't think any are quite like this one, so in that sense, it is unique. Ultimately, I had a few fun laughs, but I can't say this is a must see comedy or anything like that since it really doesn't have a story or much of a point.
July 6, 2017
Probably my all time favorite movie. The characters all have there own personalities and quirky traits that make them 3 dimensional and funny. The dialogue is fantastic and the comedic timing is great. The funniest parts of the movie are the ones with Napoleon and Pedro. This is one of the most quotable movies ever made. ????????????????????
½ July 3, 2017
A highly quotable and stupid comedy
June 30, 2017
"Often funny?" Aw Contraire!
It's constantly funny - start to finish. There isn't a scene that doesn't crack me up.
I've seen it a dozen times and I'm thinking about looking for a fan club!
June 20, 2017
Best movie ever! How could someone not love This? It is SO funny and hilarious! It may be really stupid but it's stupid funny. LOVE IT!
June 19, 2017
A truly unique film that mixes some touching moments with its awkward characters, and also delivers some great laughs along the way. By the end you appreciate its charm and can't stop quoting its leads.
June 15, 2017
A silly comedy with a surprising amount of thought under the surface. I first saw "Napoleon Dynamite" when I was nine or ten years old, and it immediately became the film most quoted by my friends and family. And while those quotable catchphrases were funny when I first heard them, the effect eventually wore off. I mean, watching the film or hearing someone say something will often times still make me chuckle, but nothing quite compares to the first time. But, thankfully, and the point of saying all that was, there's a lot to love about the movie outside of those few buzzy lines. There are moments of foreshadowing one might not pick up on their first watch through. And there are visual gags that remain effective with every time they're seen. And, of course, the world established in the film is still interesting to go back and visit. "Napoleon Dynamite" is obviously not an intellectually driven arthouse piece, but it really works as what it is, which is a simple and silly comedy.
½ June 1, 2017
Either you get it or you don't. I don't find this film particularly appealing.
May 10, 2017
There has been nothing made since that compares to "Napoleon Dynamite". The film is totally genuine and unique in its portrayal of these ridiculous characters. There are some incredible laughs, and the rest leaves you shaking your head at how stupid it is.
April 26, 2017
I think this film is a classic. I love when he dances at the end
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