Weird: The Al Yankovic Story Review – Absurd Parody Biopic Worthy Of Weird Al


Every once in a while, Hollywood gets, well, weird. A film comes along that is outrageous, unhinged, and confident enough in its own absurdity that the audience can do nothing but like it. That’s Weird: The Al Yankovic Storyin a nutshell. It’s somehow charming, strange, funny and even a bit dark. The film, directed by Eric Appel from a screenplay by him and “Weird Al” Yankovic, is an entertaining biopic about the eccentric musician who rose to fame remaking other artist’s music by rewriting the lyrics. For it to have been a drama about Yankovic’s life would have been a great disservice to his career. And so Weird: The Al Yankovic Story was made, a biopic unlike any other audiences will see this year (or in the years to come).

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“Weird Al” rose to fame writing parodies of famous songs, including “White and Nerdy” and “Amish Paradise.” The film takes the audience back to Yankovic’s childhood and follows him through his rise in fame. Born Alfred Yankovic and known to his parents (Toby Huss and Julianne Nicholson) as “Alfie,” Al (Daniel Radcliffe) decides from a very young age that he doesn’t want to work in a factory like his father. After his mother buys him an accordion, Al begins practicing and playing. In college, after having written “My Bologna,” a parody of the song “My Sharona,” Al sends a cassette to a radio station, and it becomes a big hit. And so begins his rise to fame, with his career taking quite a few twists and turns.

Daniel Radcliffe and Rainn Wilson in Weird: The Al Yankovic Story

Weird lives up to its name. It’s utterly ridiculous, a satire of biopics in the best way. It exaggerates anything and everything that happens (and doesn’t happen) in Yankovic’s life to the point of being so over-the-top one can’t help but laugh at its absurdity. Not all the comedy bits work, but it never stops trying to make the audience laugh regardless. From Yankovic showing up to a high school polka party to cheers to a face-off with Pablo Escobar (yes, the very one), Weird is one of those films that knows its entire premise is a mockery and just goes with it. It’s as funny and witty as the song lyrics Yankovic’s written over the years to various artist’s music. Perhaps it’s because the accordion player knows that no one takes him seriously, a persona he’s built for himself over the years that is furthered by his music career, but it works in the film’s favor. The film’s many, many cameos (including Quinta Brunson as Oprah Winfrey) also add to the film’s comedy.

The film begins to drag a bit after Yankovic meets Madonna, drawing things out before its big finale, but it’s not enough to disengage the audience. There are also times when the film is trying too hard to get as excessive as possible, seemingly trying to top itself and every other biopic in existence, but it luckily doesn’t hinder Weird’s overall story or performances. To that end, Daniel Radcliffe’s turn as “Weird Al” Yankovic is solid overall. It helps that the actor has good comedic timing and expressions to match. The big, curly Yankovic wig and the iconic Hawaiian shirts he wears throughout add to his performance. Evan Rachel Wood as Madonna is perhaps the standout. The actress pops and chews her gum while her eyes sparkle with mischief, taking her performance as Madonna into stereotypical valley/bad girl territory and coming out on top in what becomes a memorable turn. Rainn Wilson as Dr. Demento, Yankovic’s mentor and biggest supporter, is the sturdy rock that keeps things grounded when the plot spins out of control.

Quinta Brunson and Daniel Radcliffe in Weird: The Al Yankovic Story

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story is one of those films viewers will have to see to believe. They will also have to suspend their disbelief and do away with everything they thought they knew about the musician’s life (though perhaps one of the benefits of Yankovic’s story is that his life story isn’t as widely known as more high-profile public figures). Weird parodies Yankovic’s life, the music industry, and biopics to an ultimately successful degree. The film has fun dramatizing and exaggerating every part of his story, as well as any figures in the 1970s and 80s, and it’s easy to see how much of a good time was had by all while making it. Weird is chock-full of funny moments and so ludicrous that to have expected anything else from a movie about “Weird Al” Yankovic would have been a mistake.

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 8, 2022 and will be available to stream free on Roku November 4. The film is 108 minutes long and is not rated.

Key Release Dates

  • Weird Al Yankovic Story
    Weird: The Al Yankovic Story
    Release Date:

    2022-11-04

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