Napoleon Dynamite (Jon Heder) is a shameless nerd. He's bullied by the jocks at high school. He has no friends until he meets Pedro (Efren Ramirez), a quiet Mexican. His brother, Kip (Aaron Ruell), spends all day chatting up girls online and thinks he's going to be a cage fighter. Their Uncle Rico (Jon Gries), a door-to-door salesman, comes to look after them when their grandmother has a quad bike accident. It's all rather cringeworthy, but at times very funny. You feel bad for laughing at such weedy people. But I guess that's the point.
Shot in Idaho, the film looks and feels provincial. None of the actors are familiar, but their characters are the same old high school clichés. Napoleon, however, takes nerdiness to new levels: dangling his acting figure out of the school bus window on a piece of fishing line; drawing a "liger", a magical, mythical cross between a lion and a tiger; drinking, gawping, dancing around in his moon boots. He can't even stand still and do nothing without looking like a total dweeb. It has a certain appeal, but the story needn't go anywhere. There are the usual plot points: the school dance, the class president elections, lunchtime, lockers, asking out girls; they are all quite normal but bloated with the weirdness of director Jared Hess.
Nugget: I didn't find this film as funny as I was expecting it to be, but it's enjoyable, quirky and full of independent spirit.