Taken as a whole, Napoleon Dynamite is a disjointed mix of scenes that barely connect together to make a full feature film, switching fast but never uneven. But while it is primarily known as a "cringe" comedy, its most striking element is actually its earnest tenderness. It's the school dance, the distant fields of Idaho, "Music for a Found Harmonium" and that last, slow zoom out. Romanticism for the un-romantic.
Hate to bring in the hate, but I absolutely did not like this movie. Couldn't tolerate the character, didn't find the writing too compelling, and just found it to be an eighty minute character study of a character who is not worth studying.
Ushered in a massive wave of "awkward comedy" in filmmaking, to be found in movies but even more so in the commercial world. Points for the controlled, deadpan style and the performances. Generally, though, it wasn't zany enough for me considering how absurd it is. Hess' later work is far superior.