There’s a palpable swagger to the Special Collector’s Edition of Jared Hess’ peculiar directorial debut – and fair enough, really. Having scrimped and saved, gaffer-taped and blagged their way through production to create 2004’s offbeat triumph about oddball Napoleon (Jon Heder), hanging out, hanging out some more and helping new pal Pedro (Efren Ramirez) in the class elections, it’s interesting to note how many cosmetic tweaks were added after the film had landed at Sundance 2004. Take the ‘credits buffet’ titles... “We shot that after Fox purchased the film,” says Hess. “We wrote to The White Stripes. They hadn’t allowed their music to be used in any films prior to this, but they liked it, and let us use this song [‘We’re Going To Be Friends’].”
Aside from Hess, Heder (sadly seemingly incapable of stepping out of character since) and producer Jeremy Coon’s doting parent yak-track, there’s some infectiously giggly insight in an alternative commentary from a gaggle of co-stars. Disappointingly, that’s about it for substance.
Even with commentaries, the four deleted scenes and heaps of TV spots, outtakes and awards (filler, basically) are one-watch curios at best. Far from a dynamite treatment, then, but from the audition footage and behind-the-scenes shots, it’s obvious that this is one lo-fi curio with an appeal no amount of retrospective cash-flinging will change. Gosh!