Napoleon Dynamite

User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 624 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 95 out of 624

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User Reviews

  1. groundfisher
    Jan 13, 2005
    6
    This is a movie for teenagers.
  2. JeffL.
    Jul 19, 2004
    6
    As the titular high school ubergeek, Jon Heder gives a truly original performance. Slack-jawed, good-hearted, but not really all that bright, Napoleon could serve as a walking illustration for the phrase "bad hair day." I also loved cutie Tina Majorino as Napoleon's almost love interest and Efren Ramirez as his new best friend, a Mexican kid who's the new guy at school. Despite As the titular high school ubergeek, Jon Heder gives a truly original performance. Slack-jawed, good-hearted, but not really all that bright, Napoleon could serve as a walking illustration for the phrase "bad hair day." I also loved cutie Tina Majorino as Napoleon's almost love interest and Efren Ramirez as his new best friend, a Mexican kid who's the new guy at school. Despite the performances, I found the film's low-key tone to be repetitive and ultimately grating. It's like listening to a symphony composed entirely of a single note - it may be well-played, but after 86 minutes you'll be glad it's over. For a far funnier, smarter, and more richly written and performed teen comedy, check out this year's earlier hit Mean Girls - sometimes Hollywood actually does get it right. Expand
  3. brad
    Aug 28, 2005
    4
    Not that funny, not that clever. Laughed only once. Disjointed, boring story.
  4. ScottD.
    Oct 30, 2004
    4
    How this movie is getting such high praise from the average people around here is beyond me. It was a film without a heart, a point, or even very many laughs. Its characters were all under-developed cartoons. It felt vaguely condescending, and its laughs relied just on quirkiness for quirkiness' sake. For movies that actually take the nerdy underdogs out there seriously, or that are How this movie is getting such high praise from the average people around here is beyond me. It was a film without a heart, a point, or even very many laughs. Its characters were all under-developed cartoons. It felt vaguely condescending, and its laughs relied just on quirkiness for quirkiness' sake. For movies that actually take the nerdy underdogs out there seriously, or that are made with artistry or a point, see Rushmore or Ghost World. If not, go waste your time and money on the vacuous Napoleon Dynamite. Expand
  5. ElsieC.
    Sep 15, 2005
    4
    I just don't understand all the hype. I didn't laugh once.
  6. Wongit
    Jun 16, 2006
    4
    I really dont see where they hype comes from. Honestly. Way overhyped.
  7. PatrickD.
    Sep 11, 2005
    5
    A Classsic? I don't think so. This film had so many useless scenes, where they only end up with another "Gosh!" It was hardly even a film-more of an experiment.
  8. RobC.
    Sep 26, 2008
    5
    Just three words: Slow, Bored. Eccentric.
  9. Sep 24, 2011
    6
    The movie's decent, that's all.
  10. TylerN.
    Jan 9, 2005
    4
    Napoleon Dynamite is a "unique" comedy. However, its good ends at its uniqueness. The actual "funny" moments are almost always based around phyisical gestures rather than actual jokes or words. In other words, you wont find many spots to laugh out loud because these moments are short lived. The movie ending left me wondering where all of the acclaim i had heard had come from. Not the Napoleon Dynamite is a "unique" comedy. However, its good ends at its uniqueness. The actual "funny" moments are almost always based around phyisical gestures rather than actual jokes or words. In other words, you wont find many spots to laugh out loud because these moments are short lived. The movie ending left me wondering where all of the acclaim i had heard had come from. Not the funniest movie I have seen. Expand
  11. JeffL.
    Jul 19, 2004
    6
    As the titular high school ubergeek, Jon Heder gives a truly original performance. Slack-jawed, good-hearted, but not really all that bright, Napoleon could serve as a walking illustration for the phrase "bad hair day." I also loved cutie Tina Majorino as Napoleon's almost love interest and Efren Ramirez as his new best friend, a Mexican kid who's the new guy at school. Despite As the titular high school ubergeek, Jon Heder gives a truly original performance. Slack-jawed, good-hearted, but not really all that bright, Napoleon could serve as a walking illustration for the phrase "bad hair day." I also loved cutie Tina Majorino as Napoleon's almost love interest and Efren Ramirez as his new best friend, a Mexican kid who's the new guy at school. Despite the performances, I found the film's low-key tone to be repetitive and ultimately grating. It's like listening to a symphony composed entirely of a single note - it may be well-played, but after 86 minutes you'll be glad it's over. For a far funnier, smarter, and more richly written and performed teen comedy, check out this year's earlier hit Mean Girls - sometimes Hollywood actually does get it right. Expand
  12. ClaireR.
    Jul 27, 2004
    4
    This movie had no visible plot, and the charactors were presented in such a way that they were nearly impossible to like. It was set in 2004, though the clothes and sets made you think that they were going for the mid-seventies look. Few of the actors looked as though they were in high school, and did not show any emotion. Almost all highschoolers today are far more interested in life This movie had no visible plot, and the charactors were presented in such a way that they were nearly impossible to like. It was set in 2004, though the clothes and sets made you think that they were going for the mid-seventies look. Few of the actors looked as though they were in high school, and did not show any emotion. Almost all highschoolers today are far more interested in life than Napolean and Pedro, who did not show emotion for anything at all. I must admit, though, that his dance solo totally rocked. Expand
  13. LauraD
    Apr 16, 2005
    6
    It was aaaaaiiight.
  14. PatC.
    Jan 3, 2006
    5
    Engaging & unique, yet the ending and add-on ending were flat, implying the makers didn't believe in what they were creating.
  15. MarcK.
    Sep 29, 2004
    6
    Had little desire to see this film, but the "legs" have been tremendous, so I thought I'd give it a shot. As others have noted, I thought the film was pretty bad for the first hour or hour and fifteen minutes. Then, for whatever reason, it becomes much more engaging and interesting...maybe it was because the plot actually moved along towards the end. And as others have already noted Had little desire to see this film, but the "legs" have been tremendous, so I thought I'd give it a shot. As others have noted, I thought the film was pretty bad for the first hour or hour and fifteen minutes. Then, for whatever reason, it becomes much more engaging and interesting...maybe it was because the plot actually moved along towards the end. And as others have already noted as well, my immediate comparison to this movie was "Welcome to the Dollhouse". I could have rated this film as either as a "low good" (7) or a "high average" (6). I chose the latter. Expand
  16. Sam
    Jan 20, 2005
    5
    I most definitely had a few laughs while watching this; it is quasi-entertaining. When it ended I just felt like, "hmm that was unnecessary." These people are raving about it, when it is really pointless. "THAT'S WHAT MAKES IT SO FUNNY!" Yeah, maybe so, but I really hope these people realize the irony.
  17. RichardC.
    Jan 22, 2005
    5
    I was very disappointed in this movie. Honestly folks it's just not real funny.
  18. W.C.H.
    Jan 28, 2005
    6
    I've noticed that the majority of user reviews on this site are clearly immediate visceral responses such "Dude, like totally awesome" and "best movie ever." Next time you write a review, give it a few days will you, and think about how this is probably NOT the "best movie ever" for God's sake! Whoever says that probably hasn't seen very many movies and is somewhere between I've noticed that the majority of user reviews on this site are clearly immediate visceral responses such "Dude, like totally awesome" and "best movie ever." Next time you write a review, give it a few days will you, and think about how this is probably NOT the "best movie ever" for God's sake! Whoever says that probably hasn't seen very many movies and is somewhere between 18 and 23 years old. I can name at least a hundred movies that were better than this one, and I'm not a movie snob or anything. I enjoyed "Clerks" just as much as I enjoyed "Citizen Kane," but nevertheless there is something dubious about "Napoleon Dynamite" All this talk about "It's not supposed to be realistic" is really not a very useful way to approach this film. What bothered me about it was that I have actually known people like Napoleon and I didn't think the characterization was exaggerated very much. That being said, I found this movie very humorous, but I felt bad for laughing at him because he was so pitiful. Also, there's really nothing funny about being poor and that was a source of humor in this movie. Plus, at the end of this movie, do you have any sense that Napoleon is actually going to do something with his life except to continue playing teatherball, dancing in his room and being basically a dork? Did anyone even think of that? Chances are that the other kids at school are just going to go around saying "Dude, look at that retard dance!" Is that vindication? My positive rating is based on the scenery, which was fantastic, and the occasional very very funny lines such as "Women want men with skills...like bowhunting" and also Pedro "offering his protection." The juvenile in me basically says, "Dude that was awesome!" Expand
  19. RatC.
    Oct 21, 2004
    6
    Now, don't get me wrong. This movie was funny. A very original and clean approach to comedy, and I find myself laughing and quoting it with my friends all the time. Napoleon was a very funny character, I thought his relationship with Pedro was priceless. Howeever... there were parts of the movie where comedy was just way too forced. Having "Kip" his brother fall in love with a Now, don't get me wrong. This movie was funny. A very original and clean approach to comedy, and I find myself laughing and quoting it with my friends all the time. Napoleon was a very funny character, I thought his relationship with Pedro was priceless. Howeever... there were parts of the movie where comedy was just way too forced. Having "Kip" his brother fall in love with a stereotypical black woman and then himself turning the same way was just a bit ridiculous. Also the ending was far too cliche. Expand
  20. MichaelC.
    Dec 27, 2004
    4
    The movie starts out slow, and really never picks up. There are a few hilarious scenes, but they are few and far between. In general, the humor in this one is pretty dry, but some people are into that sort of thing.
  21. MarkB.
    Aug 11, 2004
    5
    Not quite so sweet. This occasionally funny, determinedly quirky high school misfit indie very badly wants to be this year's Little Movie That Could, and the effort is there for everyone to see in virtually every frame. Unity of tone is generally a very fine thing, but this is so repetitive and monotonous, and the performances (with one exception) so resolutely one-note, that for me Not quite so sweet. This occasionally funny, determinedly quirky high school misfit indie very badly wants to be this year's Little Movie That Could, and the effort is there for everyone to see in virtually every frame. Unity of tone is generally a very fine thing, but this is so repetitive and monotonous, and the performances (with one exception) so resolutely one-note, that for me this ninety-minute-minus movie played like two-hours-plus. I like feel-good resolutions as much as anybody--maybe more--but the school assembly wrapup seemed forced and inorganic, guaranteeing Napoleon a spot in that special hell occupied by King of Hearts, Harold and Maude and other cult movies that become cult movies because they Tell Audiences What They Want To Hear. (You might not find Todd Solondz's similarly-themed-but-with-different-results Welcome to the Dollhouse exactly your cup of bitter tea, but at least Solondz is true to himself and his material. ) Admittedly it's impossible to completely dislike a high school movie that makes such prominent and imaginative use of school cafeteria food in its opening credits (unless, of course, you're Morgan Spurlock), or that sets itself in Idaho rather than the usual Chicago, New York or L.A. settings of its genre...and the luminous Tina Majorino is certainly a reminder that maybe we shouldn't have put so much distance between ourselves and that seemingly plain-Jane girl who liked us during junior year...but overall Napoleon Dynamite comes across as more of a wet firecracker. Expand
  22. BrianK.
    Aug 23, 2004
    6
    Very boring at parts but funny at some parts. From some of my friends saying it was so funny I had big expections. It was only Okay!!
  23. CarmeloD.
    Jan 24, 2005
    4
    The only funny part was the mexican guy, and the part were he dances. And people remember VOTE PEDRO!
  24. Mar 30, 2015
    6
    Napoleon Dynamite is a weird movie where everyone seems to be stoned or drunk all the time. It has a kitsch, unique appeal to it though. Despite that, though, I can't quite understand how this movie became such a runaway success.
  25. May 29, 2015
    6
    I watched this movie again to reevaluate it and I did enjoy it more this time around. There are a decent amount of funny moments here, and it undoubtedly stands out from the high-school comedy crowd. That's not the same as saying that it's a great comedy. There are some sections that are truly boring and a lot of the jokes fall flat. It's most successful moments occur fairly early onI watched this movie again to reevaluate it and I did enjoy it more this time around. There are a decent amount of funny moments here, and it undoubtedly stands out from the high-school comedy crowd. That's not the same as saying that it's a great comedy. There are some sections that are truly boring and a lot of the jokes fall flat. It's most successful moments occur fairly early on as well. But its quirkiness, strange lead character, and free roaming structure make it entertaining and memorable, and that's a lot more than you can usually say about teen centered comedies. Expand
  26. Jul 22, 2014
    6
    While 'Napoleon Dynamite' is undoubtedly amusing, the lack of a strong storyline reduces it's characters into quotable caricatures with a distinct lack of depth.
  27. Nov 30, 2014
    5
    It has some moments of oddball charm, but I find this film satirizing itself most of time. It is a parody, I just don't know what. Of awkwardness? Well, it does succeed in making me feel awkward. Not in the smart way, though. It shows how plain dumb awkward moments can be, without a hint of reason why. No good acting, incredibly far fetched idea ( if that was the point, maybe you shouldn'tIt has some moments of oddball charm, but I find this film satirizing itself most of time. It is a parody, I just don't know what. Of awkwardness? Well, it does succeed in making me feel awkward. Not in the smart way, though. It shows how plain dumb awkward moments can be, without a hint of reason why. No good acting, incredibly far fetched idea ( if that was the point, maybe you shouldn't make films), and too low of budget values. This is an indie rock, not a gem. Expand
  28. Jul 9, 2015
    6
    Lots of people love it, lots of people hate it. Both sides are acting like children, I thought the movie was okay. It''s calmness and laid back attitude is refreshing. Just watching a dork try and live his life is pretty funny.

    Though the movie is comprised of awkward humor, and not very many real jokes, the only other humorous moments come from how the actors deliver their lines. But
    Lots of people love it, lots of people hate it. Both sides are acting like children, I thought the movie was okay. It''s calmness and laid back attitude is refreshing. Just watching a dork try and live his life is pretty funny.

    Though the movie is comprised of awkward humor, and not very many real jokes, the only other humorous moments come from how the actors deliver their lines. But with that, the moments that are funny, are pretty funny.
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Metascore
64

Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 36
  2. Negative: 2 out of 36
  1. Reviewed by: Helen O'Hara
    60
    As long as you don't mind making fun of the afflicted, there are some killer comic moments.
  2. 90
    The cast playing these eccentric characters is magnificent...This is definitely one of the most unique comedies you’ll see all year.
  3. A one-note, lightweight, condescending comedy about the rubes of Idaho.