Napoleon Dynamite is a 2004 comedy film co-written and directed by Jared Hess and Jerusha Hess, starring Jon Heder in the role of the title character. Heder was paid just $1,000 to play Napoleon Dynamite, and only after the film's success re-negotiated and received a cut of its profits. The film was Jared Hess's first full-length feature and is partially adapted from his earlier short film, Peluca.
Napoleon Dynamite was acquired at the Sundance Film Festival by Fox Searchlight Pictures and Paramount Pictures, in association with MTV Films. It was filmed in and near Franklin County, Idaho in the summer of 2003. It debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2004, and in June 2004 was released on a limited basis. Its widespread release followed in August. The film's total worldwide gross revenue was $46,140,956. The film has acquired a cult following.
Plot[edit | edit source]
|Spoiler warning: The following contains plot details about|
the entire movie.
Napoleon Dynamite is a socially awkward high school student from Preston, Idaho who lives with his older brother Kip, their grandmother, and their pet llama, Tina. Kip, 32, is unemployed and boasts of spending hours in Internet chat rooms with "babes" and training to be a cage fighter; their grandmother leads a secret life involving mysterious boyfriends and quad-biking in the desert. Napoleon daydreams his way through school, doodling ligers and fantasy creatures, and reluctantly deals with the various bullies who torment him. Napoleon frequently makes up fantastic stories about himself and assumes a sullen and aloof attitude.
Napoleon's grandmother breaks her coccyx in a quad-bike accident and asks their Uncle Rico to look after the boys while she recovers. Rico, a middle-aged former athlete who lives in a campervan, uses the opportunity to team up with Kip in a get-rich-quick scheme to sell numerous items door-to-door. Kip wants money to visit his Internet girlfriend LaFawnduh, while Rico believes riches will help him get over his failed dreams of NFL stardom and the loss of his girlfriend.
Napoleon becomes friends with two students at his school: Deb, a shy girl who runs various small businesses to raise money for college; and Pedro, a transfer student from Ciudad Juárez. A friendship soon develops between the three outcasts. Inspired by a poster at the school dance, Pedro decides to run for class president, pitting him against Summer Wheatley, a popular and snobby girl at the school.
Rico and Kip's scheme causes friction with Napoleon when Rico begins spreading embarrassing rumors about Napoleon, to evoke sympathy from his prospective customers. Tensions finally come to a head after Rico tries to sell Deb a breast-enhancement product, claiming it was Napoleon's suggestion, which causes her to break off their friendship. Rico is ultimately beaten up by the town's martial arts instructor after the instructor finds Rico in his house, seemingly making advances on his wife. Kip, meanwhile, is head-over-heels in love, because LaFawnduh came to visit him from Detroit. She gives Kip an urban makeover, outfitting him in hip hop regalia, and they leave together on a bus for Michigan.
On the day of the class president elections, Pedro gives an unimpressive speech before the student body. After the principal unexpectedly informed them that Pedro needed to have a skit to accompany his speech, Napoleon gives the sound engineer a music tape he received from LaFawnduh, and performs an elaborate dance routine to "Canned Heat" by Jamiroquai. The routine receives a standing ovation from everyone except for Summer and her boyfriend.
The film concludes with Pedro becoming the class president, Rico reuniting with his estranged girlfriend, Grandma returning from the hospital, and Napoleon and Deb making up and playing tetherball.
In a post-credits scene, Kip and LaFawnduh are married in an outdoor ceremony in Preston. Napoleon, absent for the vows, arrives riding a horse, claiming that it is a "wild honeymoon stallion" that he has tamed himself. After Deb photographs Napoleon on the horse, Kip and LaFawnduh ride into the sunset.
Cast[edit | edit source]
- Jon Heder as Napoleon Dynamite
- Efren Ramirez as Pedro Sánchez
- Tina Majorino as Deb Bradshaw
- Aaron Ruell as Kip Dynamite
- Jon Gries as Rico Dynamite
- Haylie Duff as Summer Wheatley
- Emily Kennard as Trisha Jenner
- Shondrella Avery as LaFawnduh
- Sandy Martin as Grandma
- Diedrich Bader as Rex
- Trevor Snarr as Don