Top critical review
4 people found this helpful
on 12 January 2013
It's hard to describe this film in a nutshell. Imagine you are in the middle of nowhere, it is a warm, sunny afternoon, very quiet, and you have a lot of time to kill, but don't know what you should do. That is pretty much the exact demeanour that Napoleon Dynamite presents. Set in Idaho (or was it Utah?), this film mainly revolves around four socially awkward characters and their daily life. Mostly this film is about socially awkward situations, but the few actual gags this film has come entirely unexpected and have you burst out laughing when you were completely quiet just a moment ago.
Those people who already see the complete loser and social outcast in Napoleon will be sniggering throughout the film. On the other hand, those that do sympathize with him, or even are reminded of their own high school years, are equally entertained, albeit in a different way - they find Napoleon interesting, intriguing, and try to 'figure him out' - although that is almost impossible.
As mentioned before, everything about this film is bathed in a surreal atmosphere - it's hard to imagine that a town like the one portrayed in the film really exists, and that the characters portrayed therein are the actual sort of people you might meet in a small community in the American Midwest. In fact - when Uncle Rico mentions the year 1982, it did dawn on me that the entire film has an extreme 1980s feel to it - you can't shake it off. The cinematographers have done a fantastic job in this regard, as the film was shot in 2004. Hard to believe, isn't it?
There isn't much of a plot in the movie, in fact the movie doesn't have much substance either. Its sole goal is to take you, for 90 minutes, away from your busy, hectic, daily routine and plunge you into a dreamlike world that consists of high school memories, "that summer" feeling, social awkwardness (remember the prom scene?), and a simple "wow, I feel like doing nothing today" demeanour. Three solid stars, out of five, for a movie that accomplishes just that.