Many teenage comedies focus on an over-dramatized depiction of high school life. Director’s have an image of students looking like models, cliché plotlines, and unrealistic personalities. Teenage films often view a perspective of teenage life that often we cannot identify ourselves with.
One film that stands out from the typical teenage comedy is Napoleon Dynamite, a film about everyday life in Preston, Idaho that accurately portrays the everyday life of social misfits.
The leading character, Napoleon Dynamite is a nerd played by Jon Heder, a teenager with oversized glasses and a goofy haircut. He often acts like a child, running into temper tantrums, whining, concocting farfetched stories, and even drawing awful pictures as an attempt to gain the acceptance of others.
His brother Kip is a 32 year old computer nerd whose hobby is “chatting online with babes all day.” He’s unemployed and still lives with Napoleon and his grandmother. His goal in life is to be a cage fighter, but fails miserably at his attempts to show off his moves.
After their grandmother is hospitalized for an accident, their Uncle Rico comes to monitor the boys. He’s a dimwitted man still mentally attached to the year 1982, believing he is an amazing football player. Uncle Rico hatches a plan with Kip to gain money by selling Tupperware, so they may buy a time machine off the internet for the sole purpose of traveling back to 1982.
When Napoleon enlists to the aid of Pedro Sanchez, a foreign exchange student, he quickly becomes Napoleons best friend. Pedro himself tries to gain social acceptance by running for school president. His charm and monosyllabic tone make him one of the most interesting characters in the film.
This film is not for everyone. The humor is very subtle and pokes fun at everyday life rather than taking a more direct approach that other high school comedies attempt to do, in fact there is little plot at all in this movie. It’s simply an interconnected sequence of events with a brief, but hilariously entertaining climax.
*** (3 out of 4 stars)
- Scott Gregory
Napoleon trying to act cool for the dance.