Believe it or not, Napoleon Dynamite is the name of the lead character. Napoleon is a tall string bean, curly topped high school nerd. His best skill is simple survival of will and pride in the brutal world of numbskull bullies and untouchable jocks and cheerleaders. But he takes defeat in stride. It’s a certain resilience that makes him so likeable despite his acute lack of refined social skills.
The film delights in deadpan – it celebrates nerd. And is a testament that beauty can be found everywhere. There’s this absolutely lovely scene where Napoleon and several other students sing “The Rose” in sign language. The scene comes and goes with no introduction, no mention. But its inclusion adds a great warmth to the picture on the whole.
Admittedly, I watched this on cable. I’d just switched off “Dodgeball” after 20 minutes of waiting to laugh. “Napoleon Dynamite” proved absolutely delightful and refreshing and a strong statement, that a funny film doesn’t have to resort to rubbing body parts against soapy windows to keep its audience entertained.
Overall, a charming, albeit quite odd cinematic piece. Napoleon Dynamite is meticulously directed, warmly acted, and intelligently written in a dorky kind of way. If you liked “Harold and Maude” you may find that this film shares some of its quirkiness in a less in-depth but still entertaining kind of way.
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