Movie: Napoleon Dynamite

07/07/04 Lagoon Cinema 4:00pm Score: 10

Plot? Who needs plot? Napoleon Dynamite certainly doesn’t. This movie set in rural america is a feast for the mind. Starting fairly indiscriminately, this movie shows that good writers can weave tales together in a way that makes everything come together in an interesting manner. If you haven’t seen this movie yet, you should.

Napoleon Dynamite may sound like a super hero, but don’t mistake this for another Super-man. It’s just the name of a normal geek in high school. The simple mannerisms of this “normal” kid are the focus of the movie which shares his name. Why is he the main character? Well, because all the stories revolvfe around him. The school election, the rise and fall of business, the long-distance relationship that changes someone, the school dance, they’re all connected to Napoleon in some way.

In some sense, this movie is all about the connections between seemingly unrelated stories. This causes one thing which is the effect for another which causes yet another thing. This goes on throughout the movie, exquititely expanding on one story and then switching to another, keeping the audience wondering the entire way. The movie doesn’t have an overriding plot of any kind, using the separate stories driven mainly by supporting characters to keep us interested. I didn’t think that the movie was all that funny - it doesn’t have as many obvious laughs as Anchorman or Dodgeball, even though there are some wonderful physical humor.

The main players: Napoleon Dynamite, the center of it all, Kip, his brother who has an internet relationship, Uncle Rico, stuck in the 80s, Pedro, the new mexican kid on the block. This mish-mash of characters gives the movie an interesting feel. I’m not sure when it exactly is set, but it doesn’t matter much. Napoleon is the quintessential nerd, with the full effect of non-swearwords and completely ackward sentences added for no particular reason. The audience learns who he is throughout the movie in his dialog and actions. The role is acted just right by Jon Heder, like a gazillion times better than any other actior than I can think of. There are a few cameo apperances by Deidrich Bader (Oswald from Drew Carey) which garner some laughs, but seem misplaced in the grander scheme of things.

The movie keeps us all interested, and is unique in a sea of cookie-cutter movies this summer. I give it a 10 cajillion.