NAPOLEON DYNAMITEVOTE FOR PEDRO | May 2004
Opens in select theatres June 11th
On April 29th, we were invited to see a pre-sneak preview of what I believe will be one of the top comedic surprises for the Summer. If you like the “witty banter” between SpongeBob Squarepants and his endearingly equally oafish buddy Patrick, you’ll love this movie... and I’ll tell you why:
People love the underdog. We can't help but be fair weather fans and denounce our former beliefs once an unlikely candidate steps up to bat. It is, after all, the ultimate dream to be loved and cherished for remaining true to one's own spirit; dissuading anyone who gets in the way of our goals. It is so often depicted in tales from any era, oddly juxtaposing the "Ugly Duckling" and "Cinderella" screenplays. Napoleon Dynamite is similar to such fairytales, mixing frightfully surreal realism with outstanding acts of courage, honesty and loyalty.
It is the honest curmudgeon that Napoleon Dynamite ignites, and it is something we all can relate to on some level. His disgust with chores and peers, gripes with social grace. We all, at some point have been delirious with our own lack of vanity. We remember what it was like to be free-to-be-geeky or to don a hot pink graffiti-ed "jobbers hat" 'cos we thought it was cool. Napoleon never outgrew that stage, he probably never will, and you applaud the people who just accept him for that.
The incredible cast and their caricatures are sure to halo your laughter and inspire impersonations for weeks after the movie. Jon Heder is the perfect lead in this "Lucas does Vaudeville on crack" (by Lucas, I mean the movie with Corey Haim, not $TAR WAR$). Napoleon is just your average harmless high school dork who totes Trapper Keepers and items emblazoned with unicorns, and still doesn’t quite grasp that he’s not the coolest kid on the block, nor does he aspire to be. He’d be content if he could find an awesome tetherball partner. Napoleon sprites off well with his new (and possibly _only) buddy Pedro, played by Efren Ramirez, whose calm and almost comatose character is tricked up with a thick accent and moustache.
Haylie Duff (yes, the older sister of Hilary) is the popular blonde and "most likely to get thwarted", since she’s up for class President against Pedro. Jon Gries (who was in everything from Real Genius to the Rundown) is the slightly scuzzy Uncle Rico who, to say the least, is not the typical filmic father figure. He’s supposed to drive his anxious nephew to the Spring Dance, but he's preoccupied with --among other things-- reviving his quarterbacker glory days utilizing a time machine purchased over the internet. Also, the rumours you've heard are true: there's a llama in there too! Needless to say, a surplus of strange vignettes and misunderstandings are glibly glossed over like a rerun of Three’s Company, and sometimes the over-the-top slapstick is cruel at best, but the impressive editing allows for a save at every turn.
There's a wonderful lack of timeframe sense, presenting obvious trends and technology from the 80s in recent context. Maybe its an emo convention. Maybe its because the setting is in the cultural blackhole of Idaho. Whatever it is, its a welcome lilt to the trend of hipper-than-thou and bigger-budget-than-yours costume/set design. So we just go by what Uncle Rico says, quoting his ex-girlfriend, "its not 1981 anymore!" The soundtrack tweaks time a little bit more by dashing in Jamiroquai alongside When in Rome's one-hit wonder The Promise.
There's nothing left to say except, Napoleon Dynamite
is totally rad!!