NAPOLEON DYNAMITE – FILM REVIEW

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By Jonathan Popalis

***** out of 5

As the ads have been touting lately, Napoleon Dynamite has been in theatres so far for “four months of awesomeness.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself. The sleeper indie hit out of Utah is one of the sincerely unique movies to come out this year and perhaps one of the most inspired scripts seen in years.

The first element that must be said about this film is that there is absolutely no plot. There are a few loose stories sewn together in the film about Napoleon (played by Jon Heder) and his friends and family; things like going to the school dance and running for school president.

Instead, this movie takes a different route, one that I don’t think I’ve seen, at least not successfully, since Forrest Gump or Pulp Fiction. Husband and wife and first time film makers, Jared and Jerusha Hess, focus on character; developing every single one splendidly and brilliantly.

Their characters can be put in absolutely any situation and interact with each other and it will make perfect sense within the margins that the movie allows. It is without a doubt one of the funniest movies I have ever seen and has already won top prize at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival.

Napoleon Dynamiteis the epitome of detachment; it is extraordinarily weird and inventive and, despite being such a bizarre character, you will not be able to help but cheer for Napoleon as he drifts through his life with a chip on his shoulder. This character gives hope to every kid who was picked on in high school that their story is definitely worth telling.

The other joy from this movie comes from watching a star being born in 90 minutes. Jon Heder, a school friend of the film makers, was utterly breathtaking in his role as Napoleon. He does not just perform the role, he becomes it to the point that his actual personality in interviews seems like the act.

Without seeing the film, it is impossible to understand the impact it could potentially have on the future of comedic films. There is no doubt in my mind that hundreds of copycat films will pop up trying to mimic Napoleon Dynamite’s straight-laced delivery and unflinching ability to make you identify with every character.

It is bold and imaginative and should be a message to all young film makers out there that it is still possible to make original movies.

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