Review: Weird: The Al Yankovic Story

This is a project I’ve had circled for a long time. Ever since news first broke that there was a Weird Al biopic coming out starring Daniel Radcliffe I knew I was all in. Once we started getting first looks it was obvious this was going to be more of a parody of musical biopics rather than a straight up telling of how Weird Al became one of the biggest comedic influences to thousands, if not millions, of people. As the release came closer the weirdest thing started happening…tt was getting good reviews! Nobody was calling for Daniel Radcliffe to grab an Oscar nomination or anything, but it’s hard to come to a general consensus when it comes to critics and comedies, especially silly ones.

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story is just that. It’s as weird as the man himself which makes sense given that Yankovic co-wrote the movie alongside feature debut director Eric Appel. It mocks everything we’ve come to see in musical biopics. The likes of Walk the Line, Ray, Bohemian Rhapsody, Rocketman, etc. all tend to follow a similar beat of Act I: humble beginnings and traumatic upbringings. Act II: an older version of the character played by an actor far too old to playing someone in their early 20’s follows their dream but their struggles lead to their first big inspiration. Act III: they become instantly famous but struggle with handling all the temptations of show business. Act IV: overcome by addiction they start to lose it all before admitting they need help. Act V: sobriety leads them to writing a song that plays while the credits roll. Weird does all this, which is made better by the fact and the bulk of the story being told about Weird Al Yankovic isn’t remotely true.

As far as pure comedies go, I think this is one of, if not the, funniest movie I’ve seen this year. Films like Everything Everywhere All at Once and Thor: Love & Thunder were plenty silly but obviously was action heavy and dealt with much darker issues. This film aligns with what Weird Al has always done best: putting fun first. And nobody in this film is having more fun than Daniel Radcliffe. His oddball energy is infectious, as can been seen by Rainn Wilson, Julianne Nicholson, and Evan Rachel Wood playing as Yankovic’s love-interest Madonna. The rest of the cast is filled with memorable cameos from the likes of Jack Black, Conan O’Brien, Will Forte, Quinta Brunson, Thomas Lennon, and Yankovic himself to name a few.

At one hour and 48 minutes the run-time is just the right amount to tell the story, get all their bits in, and not overstay their welcome. Many of Weird Al’s classics get their screen-time, including “My Bologna”, “Eat It”, “I Love Rocky Road”, “Amish Paradise” and “Like A Surgeon” though unfortunately “The Saga Begins” never made the final cut. What makes the bits work throughout is the more and more absurd they become as the film progresses. Minor spoiler: For me it started to really take off when Al is furious to discover that Michael Jackson stole his beat and changed the words to “Eat It” and made a number one record. That and the Pablo Escobar storyline.

Another note about Radcliffe: what a great actor he’s become. Growing up in the spotlight the way he did and then pivoting from Harry Potter to these wildly different indie projects in the past decade as made him one of my favorite actors working today. I read an interview with him once and he said something along the lines of he has all the money he’ll ever need from when he was a kid so now as an adult he only takes roles that interest him. That and many of the projects he’s appeared in likely don’t get off the ground without his name attached to it. Look at some of his credits from the last few years: Swiss Army Man, Guns Akimbo, Horns, Imperium plus all the cameos and voicework he’s done in addition to the Miracle Workers anthology series. Not to mention, he’s usually really good! Seriously, there may not be a leading man whose having as much fun in their career as Daniel Radcliffe is at this moment.

Personally, I feel this film lived up to its hype and probably teeters somewhere between good and great. As a Weird Al fan I loved every second of it and there are several Easter egg lines and gags that elevate the story for me though I can see someone watching this who doesn’t have any nostalgia associated with Weird Al, particularly younger audiences, would likely not hype up this movie the way I am. Straight up comedic films are a dying breed so to see something with the sole purpose of making its audience laugh and not force feed a comment on society, politics, and the many other struggles we all go through day in and day out was quite refreshing.

Also, I’m just glad I was able to watch this is no inconvenience. One of the weird things about the film (pun intended) was that the film was being released exclusively on Roku. Yes, the same Roku that you find at every Airbnb but are never able to use because the host never gave you the login information. Like everyone else I rolled my eyes at the thought of yet another streaming service but to my surprise it’s completely free to download and stream. In fact if memory serves I’m pretty sure I didn’t even need to create an account after I downloaded it. I had a pair of ads pop up at the end of the first act but after that it was uninterrupted for the next 90 minutes. I’m not sure if everyone else will have that experience, but the whole Roku thing wasn’t an issue for me.

Again, if you love silly movies and the works of Weird Al Yankovic, you’ll love this movie. One of the funniest movies of the year anchored by a great performance by Daniel Radcliffe. Now available on Roku.

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  1. Casual Rex – December 9th – Too Much Popcorn

    […] the most original show of all time but that doesn’t make it any less funny. Quinta Brunson (Weird: The Al Yankovic Story) does double-duty as the star and showrunner and she’s created a legitimate hit with this […]


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