November 07, 2004 | Unknown

Napoleon Dynamite: Where the Uncool Rule the School

Cinema seems overly interested in geeks.
This fascination appears to have been driven by a desire to confirm how adept everyone else in comparison.
While occasionally eliciting sympathy, nerds have allowed us feel relieved we don’t wear plaid, excel at science or have a name like Eugene.
Fortunately for those who have only been represented as a head in a toilet bowl or a face about to be hit by a jock’s fist, losers emerge from the shadows of the school dance in Napoleon Dynamite, a new movie where even the cool kids are uncool.
The film’s eponymous drip resides in a small town in America in which fashion and sensibilities have remained in 1982, even though Napoleon’s brother Kip’s addiction to chat rooms reveals it is set in the present.
The desire to be in the past, while using today’s technology, is witnessed in the time machine scene, wherein Napoleon doubtfully tries out one that has been acquired over the Internet.
Alas for him, it probably is just a car battery with labels on it and his manhood gets burnt, which, if you want to read too much into it, could be a metaphor for the deeply wounded, not to mention totally weird, masculinity that is on show.
Napoleon has bedwetting and anger issues, halting speech patterns (“You made me look like an (pause) idiot“), oversized square glasses, only a few skills including drawing ligers which are his favourite animal, no parents and a nostalgic and creepy uncle who comes to take care of him and 32-year-old Kip after their grandmother has a mishap on a dune buggy.
Even if Napoleon is so maladjusted he could be diagnosed with several syndromes, he is a member of the sign language club, manages to feed his nanna’s llama and helps his best friend, Pedro, run for class president.
Like countless teen flicks, the position of president is used to make the audience take sides and to identify which group will ultimately prevail in the battle between hip and geek.
Does Pedro, who wears a bad wig after shaving his head following a bout of head sweating win, or does perky, blonde Summer, who is played by Hilary Duff’s sister, Hayley, succeed?
As a self-identified social misfit, I was content with the result (first election outcome I’ve been happy with for a bit).
Although the lead actor, Jon Heder, appears to be trying too hard to be too not with it at times, mostly the comedy works in a broad, South Park way.
Napoleon asking for one of Summer’s campaign badges before tossing it and then running away like Jerry Lewis on acid was particularly popular with last night’s Dendy crowd.
Make sure you stay seated until the very end or you will miss Kip’s marriage and his serenade to his wife which consists of such sentiments as “I love technology” and “met in a chat room”.
With the popularity of the internet and blogging being examples of the rise of the geek (hey, we’ve all seen pictures of Stephen Mayne and Tim Blair), there should a ready and large audience for a goofy but funny film like Napoleon Dynamite.
Four out of five from me, David.
Darlene can be contacted at or go to

Posted by Unknown at 11:27 am | Comments Off on Napoleon Dynamite: Where the Uncool Rule the School |
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