'Napoleon Dynamite' Critic Reviews

65%
MovieWeb:   9 reviews
71%
Rotten Tomatoes:   176 reviews
  • Lisa Schwarzbaum Entertainment Weekly (Top Critic)
    34
    The 2004 Sundance crowd-pleaser has got the tableaux suitable for Diane Arbus photos down pat, but no real interest in the people negotiating those life situations.
    Full Review » 10 years ago
  • A.O. Scott New York Times (Top Critic)
    60
    A small-scale, deadpan film.
    Full Review » 10 years ago
  • Mike Clark USA Today (Top Critic)
    63
    In Fourth of July terms, its pop is less dynamite than firecracker.
    Full Review » 10 years ago
  • Stephen Hunter Washington Post (Top Critic)
    One of the most winning movie creations in years.
    Full Review » 10 years ago
  • Desson Thomson Washington Post (Top Critic)
    I laughed. And I laughed primarily over Heder's hilarious performance.
    Full Review » 10 years ago
  • Ty Burr Boston Globe (Top Critic)
    75
    An inspired dead-end stunt that keeps delivering snarky laughs far longer than it has any right to.
    Full Review » 10 years ago
  • Michael Atkinson Village Voice (Top Critic)
    An epic, magisterially observed pastiche on all-American geekhood, flooring the competition with a petulant shove.
    Full Review » 10 years ago
  • Elizabeth Weitzman New York Daily News (Top Critic)
    63
    Hess' deadpan debut could have been so much better if only he'd had the courage to actually appreciate his loser characters.
    Full Review » 10 years ago
  • Amy Biancolli Houston Chronicle (Top Critic)
    59
    Napoleon Dynamite may be forcefully weird and intermittently humorous, and you might not know what the heck to make of it, but there's nothing shocking about its screenplay.
    Full Review » 9 years ago
  • Chris Vognar Dallas Morning News (Top Critic)
    59
    Even if you don't like the film and its freak-show depiction of small-town life, it's hard not to admire the commitment of Jon Heder's performance.
    Full Review » 10 years ago
  • Lisa Kennedy Denver Post (Top Critic)
    63
    Has a sweet momentum.
    Full Review » 10 years ago
  • Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times (Top Critic)
    38
    There is a kind of studied stupidity that sometimes passes as humor, and Jared Hess' Napoleon Dynamite pushes it as far as it can go.
    Full Review » 10 years ago
  • Michael Wilmington Chicago Tribune (Top Critic)
    50
    This is the sort of Sundance audience hit that doesn't necessarily travel.
    Full Review » 10 years ago
  • J. R. Jones Chicago Reader (Top Critic)
    For most of its length this delivers a steady stream of uncomfortable gut laughs.
    Full Review » 7 years ago
  • Carrie Rickey Philadelphia Inquirer (Top Critic)
    50
    When the audience roared at Napoleon's almost spastic way of slicing the air with his limp-spaghetti arms, I cringed.
    Full Review » 10 years ago
  • Jeff Strickler Minneapolis Star Tribune (Top Critic)
    13
    Calling this story about a quirky high-school student from a dysfunctional family who lives in a goofy small town a one-joke movie is exaggerating by a factor of 10.
    Full Review » 10 years ago
  • Tom Long Detroit News (Top Critic)
    50
    An independent take on a Hollywood tradition, undermined by its cliches but saved by its performances.
    Full Review » 10 years ago
  • Bill Muller Arizona Republic (Top Critic)
    80
    Has more belly laughs than 10 studio-produced, star-vehicle comedies.
    Full Review » 10 years ago
  • Todd McCarthy Variety (Top Critic)
    There are lots of laughs for those who enjoy the sight of bottom dwellers doing stupid things that make them look even more idiotic.
    Full Review » 10 years ago
  • Lou Lumenick New York Post (Top Critic)
    75
    A little movie with a lot of heart and a lot of laughs.
    Full Review » 10 years ago
  • Roger Moore Orlando Sentinel (Top Critic)
    80
    The funniest film of the summer.
    Full Review » 10 years ago
  • Peter Howell Toronto Star (Top Critic)
    60
    It's not as hilarious as it thinks it is, and it's sometimes too weird for words, but it is often pretty funny.
    Full Review » 10 years ago
  • Liam Lacey Globe and Mail (Top Critic)
    63
    Has nerd chic.
    Full Review » 10 years ago
  • David Edelstein Slate (Top Critic)
    Too low-wattage to be a true nerd anthem, but it's charming in retrospect, when you're freed from the narcoleptic pace to think back on the queerly beautiful tableaux and well-timed gags.
    Full Review » 10 years ago
  • James Berardinelli ReelViews (Top Critic)
    75
    With a low-key sense of humor and without the slightest whiff of sentimentality, Hess delivers a film about geeks that makes Revenge of the Nerds look like the Hollywood tripe that it is.
    Full Review » 10 years ago