Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Napolean Dynamite

The film Napolean Dynamite is a comedy of ego and desire. It's a different sort of comedy that gets laughs at the dichotomy of who we are and who we want to be. It's not a deep film but I wouldn't dismiss it as quirky for quirky's sake either.

The film follows the nerdy character Napolean Dynamite through the basic tribulations of youth - meeting girls, school cliques, crappy jobs and family issues. In this case however, the characters are all exaggerated stereotypes who fumble through life in a series of scenes where each is designed to make you cringe more than the last. In typical Hollywood fashion there is a redemptive scene at the end, but it's so atypical it works.

The differences between the characters imagined self and there external self is the core of the film. The lead character Napolean attempts to present himself as a martial artist who's also an accomplished hunter when he's just a lanky and exasperated nerd.

Don: Hey, Napoleon. What did you do last summer again?

Napoleon Dynamite: I told you! I spent it with my uncle in Alaska hunting wolverines!

Don: Did you shoot any?

Napoleon Dynamite: Yes, like 50 of 'em! They kept trying to attack my cousins, what the heck would you do in a situation like that?

Don: What kind of gun did you use?

Napoleon Dynamite: A freakin' 12-gauge, what do you think?

Other characters are just as bad. Napolean's brother Kip tries to convince people he has a social life and is studying to be a pit fighter when he's just a lonely guy chatting on the computer and Napolean's uncle Rico is looser lost in the dreams of his youth who believes he's a great football player that just missed his chance to go pro.

This isn't a film for everyone; the pacing is slow and the humor is both absurd and dry, but if you can laugh at yourself and the foibles of your friends you will get at lot of chuckles from this movie.

Here's a better review from Seatlepi.com.

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