Directed by Jared Hess, starring Jon Heder, Jon Gries, Aaron Ruell, Efren Ramirez, Tina Majorino and Haylie Duff.

The first teenage generation of the new Millennium has had to wait some time for a movie it could call its own, but finally it has arrived.

However, before we go anywhere let's get one thing straight: you will either completely adore this movie or absolutely detest it. It leaves no room for the middle ground. This is one of those films that will split the audience right down the middle in the same way an Old Firm soccer derby does in Glasgow. It has already divided America in a manner normally only seen during presidential election campaigns and debates about morality. Hopefully, providing enough people go and see it, it will do the same here.

The movie follows the mundane existence of main character Napoleon Dynamite (Heder) as he struggles through teenage life in the small Idaho town of Preston. We travel through a series of mini-adventures with the geek, which culminates with him campaigning for his Mexican friend Pedro (Ramirez) to become Student Body President. The two boys face stern competition from the popular Summer Wheatley (Duff), who seems a shoo-in for the post.

Those who have seen the trailer will have already seen the face of the new poster-boy for nerds across the globe. For those who haven't, he looks like the dorky younger brother of Disco Stu from 'The Simpsons'. Once you get to grips with the slow pace of the movie, you will be laughing all the way to the end, and even a simple close-up of Napoleon's face will instigate chuckles.

Prepare for quotes from Napoleon to become a regular part of student conversations. Lines like "GOSH! You're ruining my life", and "Wanna play me?" might not sound funny now, but after viewing they end up emblazoned upon the mind.

All the main characters are masterfully acted, although Tina Majorino comes in for special mention. Her understated performance as Deb is one of many highlights in this subtle masterpiece. Sometimes the point of a movie is that there is no point, and this one makes that particular point more poignantly than any other.

A candidate for the best movie of the year and without a doubt the best of its genre since 'American Pie'.

Séamus Leonard