“Napoleon Dynamite” is one of those flash-in-the-pan, lightning-in-a-bottle indie comedies that comes along, strikes a chord then quickly fades away from public consciousness as anything other than a punchline. Me though, I have to admit I genuinely love this little movie that could. Jon Heder is perfectly cast as the cringe-worthy Napoleon Dynamite, awkwardly slithering through his adolescent years surrounded by equally peculiar family members and friends – there really isn’t anything else going on, and it’s arguably little more than an excuse to laugh at hicks in a vaguely mean-spirited but ultimately harmless way. But really, it’s just so goddamn funny, and what more could you want from a comedy? It doesn’t mean anything, doesn’t really have a central theme (although it at least has the outline of a plot hidden behind its idiosyncrasies) or any interest in developing its characters, but their rather aimless misadventures are genuinely hilarious in an absurd way not unlike a sanitized version of Comedy Central’s “Strangers with Candy.” I’m sure pretty much everyone’s seen it at this point, but it’s still pretty funny even after all these years.
Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)