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FRIDAY & SATURDAY
Jared Hess’ Napoleon Dynamite does one thing right: It encompasses everything that is wrong with the 18-to- 35 demographic. A terrifying number of professionals, hipsters, frat boys, pseudointellectuals, and hippies liberally throw around such terms as “brilliant” and “genius” when describing this lowest-common-denominator, audience-loathing bedsore on the tuchis of true comedy. The film’s creators did nothing more than take a random selection of thrift-shop sight gags from multiple decades (Ha ha! Just look at that crazy van/wood paneling/outfit!), write characters that no one could possibly become attached to, reheat some nostalgic catchphrases, and piece together lame subplots from the margins of pop culture. The attempted “timeless” element of the town was completely botched: Surfing the Internet gets shoved together with inspecifically retro wardrobes and automobiles, and the billionth worn-out use of a boombox to allow humor-challenged dolts to point and say, “Remember [insert ’80s thing] from the ’80s?” I’ve honestly heard people claim that white kids really dress that way in small towns. No, white kids in small towns dress like black kids in big towns. (See Malibu’s Most Wanted as a serious anthropological example.) Yes, Napoleon Dynamite could have swept the Oscars had there been categories for Best Lazy Attempt at Latino Humor, Best Lazy Attempt at African-American Humor, and Best Film for Aspiring but Wholly Unoriginal Humorists. I have a general response to the never-ending parade of people who love this movie: Watch more movies. Start by studying what ain’t funny when Napoleon Dynamite screens at midnight Friday, May 20, and Saturday, May 21, at Landmark’s E Street Cinema, 555 11th St. NW. $6.75. (202) 452-7672. (Andrew Earles)