8 October 2004

Review: Napoleon Dynamite (3/5)

(watched at The Suncoast in Las Vegas)

An initially slow and awkward start developed into an hilariously awkward movie. I was immediately reminded of a line from the Ghost World Comic Page of the Week where Enid says Don't you just love it when you see two really ugly people in love like that? Napoleon, his friend Pedro, and their love interest Deb are the three geeky, flawed heroes of the story. Napoleon has (almost) convinced himself that his geekiness is cool and practically mocks the world as clueless to his genius. Pedro, with a drawling hispanic accent, is more realistic in his ambitions, yet hitches his wagon to Napoleon's star as Napoleon convinces him to run for class president. Deb is somewhat skittish and downtrodden--in her first appearance Napoleon scares her away as she attempts to sell friendship bracelets and glamour shots door-to-door.

At times, the movie veers too close to Revenge of the Nerds [IMDB]: the jocks and popular girls are garishly taunting Napoleon and his friends, and the end revels in geek triumph and jock come-uppance as a football player heckling Napoleon is drowned out by cheers from the rest of the school. However, the gawky humor and unlikely, painful situations keep it from being as bland and thoughtless as the Nerd movies. The more humorous scenes in the Ghost World [IMDB] movie come to mind as a more apt comparison.

Just as many people wanted a Kramer and Newman TV show after Seinfeld [IMDB] ended--regardless of the characters' annoyances--I'm now waiting for the further exploits of Napoleon Dynamite.

[ posted by sstrader on 8 October 2004 at 2:31:24 PM in Cinema ]