Napoleon Dynamite Jared Hess

Napoleon Dynamite Jared Hess
In a classic Cindie-rella move, Napoleon Dynamite's widespread popularity was preceded by a major bidding war over the distribution rights to this touching low-budget comedy. In the end, Fox Searchlight and MTV Films got to take Napoleon to the ball for over three million and as this G-rated DVD continues to sell out across the country, they've got to think it was a party worth attending. As a film event, Napoleon is one of those rare instances where the hype checks out and the filmmaker's rags to riches journey is genuinely heartening. Director Jared Hess and star Jon Heder are completely likable as they provide an extensive tour of their film's universe via their varied commentary tracks on this DVD. These include a return to the original short film, Peluca, which was Hess's first lovingly rendered portrait of his hometown of Preston, Idaho. Heder has yet to pin down the character of Napoleon (or "Seth," as he was known originally) in this condensed version of the feature's story but the germ of our hero was certainly still present n 2003. Sorely missing, however, is the strong ensemble cast that makes the feature film the gem that it is. Through their absence, Peluca highlights the importance of characters like Pedro (Efren Ramirez), Deb (Tina Majorino), Uncle Rico (John Gries), and Kip (Aaron Ruell), as they give the film some heart beyond its adolescent oddness. Like a cross between Beavis and Butthead and Rushmore, Napoleon Dynamite's humor is alternately brilliant and dumb, flush with memorable dialogue and silly sight gags. More than this even, it is among the best spoofs of high school tedium and outcast alienation to ever hit the screen. Plus: "The Wedding of the Century" making of, deleted scenes, still gallery. (Fox)