A/V Room









Napoleon Dynamite (PG)

Review by: Jack Foley | Rating: Two

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Commentary by Jared Hess, Jeremy Coon and Jon Heder. Peluca original short film. 'The Wedding of the Century' making of featurette. Deleted scenes. Stills gallery.

THE mis-adventures of the seriously uncool Napoleon Dynamite provided US audiences with one of the cult comedies of the year, so don't bet against him repeating the trick here.

Napoleon, as played by Jon Heder, is the sort of geek to give geeks a bad name.

He thinks he's cool, has an obnoxious petulant streak, an outrageously bad red hairstyle and considers moon-boots to be the height of fashion.

Yet his offbeat tale makes for curiously funny viewing, even though it possesses a cruel streak that seems to delight in ridiculing its unique set of characters.

For Napoleon is not alone in geek-dom. Almost every other person in the film has a quirk about them, whether it's his 30-year-old brother, Kip (Aaron Ruell), whose life is spent online in chat rooms, or his egotistical Uncle Rico (Jon Gries), a former sports jock who has never been able to get over the disappointment of his 1982 high school sports season.

All play a part in making Napoleon's life just that little bit more miserable, especially since his school days aren't that much better.

In between helping his only friend, Pedro (Efren Ramirez), to become class president, he secretly harbours feelings for a girl named Deb (Tina Majorino), who is too shy to notice (particularly as Napoleon's pulling campaign is as cringe-worthy as his look).

The ensuing 86 minutes unfold in a slow, meandering fashion, yet somehow remain likeable even if nothing much happens.

Heder and co-writer-director, Jared Hess, thrown in enough inspired moments of comedy to keep viewers amused, such as sequences involving a time machine, a flying steak and a high-school dance-off that brings proceedings to a suitably upbeat close.

And while the film is mostly barbed, it does prove itself to have a big heart too, not least in the depiction of Dynamite's romance.

With this in mind, the comedy is most definitely an acquired taste, and one which you'll either get from the start, or become increasingly frustrated by.

It certainly makes a refreshing change from the usual high school, coming-of-age fare, that places sex and crudeness above all else, and for that reason alone is worth checking out.

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