If you see Napoleon Dynamite, you'll understand why the tagline reads, "He's out to prove he's got nothing to prove." Director Jared Hess co-wrote the script with his wife, Jerusha, and the Hesses don't give you a film with a coherent plotline; rather, they show us a series of random vignettes in the life of the film's main character, Napoleon Dynamite (played superbly by Jon Heder). Yet, Napoleon is such a compelling character that any story seems less important than getting to hear his take on the various issues in his life. For any independent film lovers and for any comedy buffs, Napoleon Dynamite presents 90 minutes of cultish one-liners and memorable character quirks—which probably explains why the film, after almost two months in theaters, continues to move up the box office charts week after week.

Jon Heder is a hoot in the title role

Jon Heder is a hoot in the title role

Napoleon first won over crowds as a nomination for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival (2004) and as a winner for the Film Discovery Jury Award at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival (2004). At both festivals, audiences screened a slightly shorter version of the film, which means the theatrical release offers a few more minutes of Napoleon ("Yesss!" as Napoleon would say). Since its time on the festival circuit, Napoleon has gained word-of-mouth praise that has pushed a fairly new and fairly young group of filmmakers into big-time Hollywood territory. Director Hess is already at work on a new feature film and has a TV series in development.

When I noticed that the film was produced, in part, by MTV, I winced as I remembered some of the company's previous attempts at filmmaking: the raunchy Varsity Blues, the unnecessary Beavis & Butthead Do America, and the forgettable Joe's Apartment. But Napoleon is surprisingly ...

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Napoleon Dynamite
Our Rating
3 Stars - Good
Average Rating
(2 user ratings)ADD YOURSHelp
Mpaa Rating
PG (for thematic elements and language)
Directed By
Jared Hess
Run Time
1 hour 36 minutes
Jon Heder, Efren Ramirez, Jon Gries
Theatre Release
August 27, 2004 by Fox Searchlight Pictures
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