Weird: The Al Yankovic Story

I am a huge fan of “Weird Al” Yankovic. I have been a fan since the early days of the Dr. Demento show with “Ricky” and “I Love Rocky Road” so I was extremely hyped for the “biopic” of Weird Al that was debuting on the Roku Channel today.

I was not disappointed.

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story is 100% an “unexaggerated true story” according to Al who introduced the film. He, of course, is exaggerating, if not outright lying. This movie is a parody of the biopic genre of films, taking many of the tropes of a typical Oscar-bait movie and turning it upside down. And while there are a few moments where there would be a kernel of truth in the life story of Al Yankovic, there is considerably more here that is basically fiction.

In truth, the movie portrays Al in a much more bad boy role, like many of the rock-n-roll biopics, which goes in total opposite of the real Weird Al, who is considered one of the nicest and most clean-cut individuals in pop culture, lacking any sign of controversy in his life.

The film takes us through the life of Al Yankovic (Daniel Radcliffe) from child to young adult to the most successful recording artist in the world. Al reaches these heights by taking other people’s songs and changing the lyrics to make them funny. Despite the objection from his ill-tempered father (Toby Huss), Al gets his hands on an accordion and begins to learn how to play.

Escaping from his father’s hard hand, Al roomed with a bunch of guys and wound up composing his first song, “My Bologna” by accident. Al was seen by radio host Dr. Demento (Rainn Wilson) while he was performing at a punk club and he saw something in the parodist.

Being dubbed Weird Al, Al started on a journey of success. He was rejected at first by music executive Tony Scotti (Al Yankovic), but almost immediately after that rejection, Al went on a meteoric rise. That was when Weird Al caught the eye of Madonna (Evan Rachel Wood).

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story was full of silly humor, outrageous characters and a ton of celebrity cameos. The humor is not subtle, as it smack you across the face, but it was almost always hilarious. Based on a Funny or Die short from 2010, Weird: The Al Yankovic Story was a parody of biopics and told the story of the great parody singer of our time.

Daniel Radcliffe would have been one of the last actors I would have thought of to play Weird Al, and that is why it is a genius move to cast him in the role. Radcliffe has been in a ton of strange, creative films since the end of the Harry Potter franchise and he always gave his best effort, no matter how weird. This film is no different as Radcliffe throws himself into the role with a gusto and passion that makes him a perfect casting.

Evan Rachel Wood as Madonna nearly steals the film. She played the role wonderfully, turning the pop superstar almost into the villain of the film. It is funny how many people, after seeing the trailer, believed that Al and Madonna had a relationship in real life.

The music is fantastic. Weird Al Yankovic did the singing of the film while Daniel Radcliffe did the lip synching. There are a bunch of the classic Al parodies included in the soundtrack such as “I Love Rocky Road,” “Another One Rides the Bus,” “Eat It,” and “Amish Paradise.” The end credits include a new song by Weird Al called “Now You Know” which is very meta and basically talked about the movie that was just shown and how many credits there are.

The film is chocked full of celebrity cameos, dozens of them from some of the most well known comedic actors available. There were other cameos of actors playing certain 1980s celebrities. I won’t spoil any of these, but there is one brilliant cameo of an actor playing Wolfman Jack.

Weird Al co-wrote the film with director Eric Appel, who also directed the original Funny or Die short. Appel does a great job as director and set up some ridiculous scenes and situations and made it amazing. I loved Weird: The Al Yankovic Story and I am so happy for Al. No one deserves the success more.

4.85 stars

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