“Napoleon Dynamite” IS ‘FREAKIN’ HILARIOUS!! This Sundance fave is set in rural Preston, Idaho and focuses on the trial and tribulations of the titular character, Napoleon Dynamite (Jon Heder – The Benchwarmers, Just Like Heaven), a Preston High School outcast. Just try to picture Poindexter from “Revenge of the Nerds” with an attitude, coke bottle glasses, moon boots, parachute pants, a freaky haircut, tater tots, tether ball, and ‘sweet’ numchuk skills!
Napoleon lives with his much older brother, Kip (Aaron Ruell – first film), a 32-year-old loser, with no ambitions in life except 4 o’clock chat rooms with his online girlfriend, LaFawnduh (Shondrella Avery – Domino) who can also be a questionable Drag queen herself, and his wild and butch grandmother (Sandy Martin – 48 Hrs, One Night at McCool’s). But when grandma breaks her ‘cock-sik’, Uncle Rico (Jon Gries – Men in Black, Get Shorty) moves in to take care of the boys, while he scams the people of Preston with his stupid ‘Get-Rich-Quick’ schemes.
Other supporting characters are Napoleon’s immigrant Mexican best friend, Pedro (Efren Ramirez – Jury Duty), who eventually runs for class President against the prettiest and most popular girl in school, Summer Wheatley (Haylie Duff, sister to Hilary), and Napoleon’s possible love interest Deb (Tina Majorino – Waterworld, Corrina, Corrina), the perfect geek chick who sells friendship bracelets door-to-door to save up for college!
The movie works because it’s real. The setting is so dull that the culture and fashion literally stops in the 1970s (except for Deb’s unique side ponytail, which actually makes it up to the 1980s). I can honestly say that I have never been to Preston, Idaho myself, but the movie crushes every ‘American-Utopian’ high school flick that I have ever seen and seems to be a pretty accurate representation of any rural town. Especially, since the movie is based on Hess’ hometown, which also gets the audience wondering if the movie is personal?
Also, it becomes obvious that this first-time director does not follow the ‘in your face’ gimmicks that so many other directors are familiar with, but prefers the more minimalist approach. It is refreshing to watch a true comedy that has very little learning, growing and hugging. Every character is so extremely unique that the audience is actually drawn in to their weirdness. Especially for Napoleon’s, who has perfected the art of deadpan and crude honesty, “I see you’re drinking one percent; Is that because you think you’re fat?”
In the end, this 86 minute movie is a definite must-see. There are enough bizarre images and dead-on physical humour to change the face of geek-dom forever.
Commentary by Director/Co-Writer Jared Hess, actor Jon Heder and Producer Jeremy Coon
**5 Deleted Scenes with Commentary by Director/Co-Writer Jared Hess, actor Jon Heder and Producer Jeremy Coon
**Easter Egg – Fan Club Piece
**The Making of the Wedding of the Century Featurette