WEIRD: THE AL YANKOVIC STORY (2022)
Release Date: 11/04/22 [Roku Channel]
Studio: Roku Originals
"Explores every facet of Yankovic's life, from his meteoric rise to fame with early hits like 'Eat It' and 'Like a Surgeon' to his torrid celebrity love affairs and famously depraved lifestyle."
OUR MOVIE REVIEW:
There can be no denying the creative force of “Weird Al” Yankovic. From music to videos to movies, the Polka Prince has conquered it all. Why not then, tell his own tale? And why not tell it in a manner so recognizable by his legion of fans: as a parody. Weird: The Al Yankovic Story is truly a funny comedy working in the farcical, the sublime, and yes, even the weird. And yet, like many of “Weird Al’s” songs, Weird is also a one-joke number that runs its course much too early.
Co-written by “Weird Al” himself, Weird tells the tale of a young man destined for greatness but is shunned by his own family. A life where the accordion is the devil’s squeezebox and polka parties are verboten. Once in the safe escape of college, inspiration hits “Weird Al” (Daniel Radcliffe) like bologna on cheese. His life becomes a series of platinum hits, parties with Warhol, and whirlwind romances with Madonna. Of course, all of this is pure pastiche. A cunning satire dripping with circumspect irony. Yankovic and director Eric Appel hit every familiar beat of every cliche rock star biopic from Jim Morrison to Elvis. The end result is entirely funny, oddly offbeat, but like its subject matter, also a little tired. “Weird Al” can easily maintain his maniacal comedy for a three-minute song. In a two-hour movie, the forced humor starts to strain in an accordion wheeze.
Radcliffe, a self-professed Yanko-maniac, brings honor to the man. Radcliffe hams it up with his spectacles and mustache and Hawaiian prints. His performance, however, comes across as a parody itself with Radcliffe showcasing the best “Weird Al” cosplay routine around. Likewise with Evan Rachel Wood’s Madonna. She has the looks; she has the swagger; but her performance really becomes an impression; her hot flame quickly burns down to a smoky ember.
Weird is a fun, offbeat comedy. There are cameos a go-go - both actors and personalities - that enhance the secret origin mystique but the true star is the music itself as Weird, if anything, is a promotion of “Weird Al’s” greatest hits. Recording “My Bologna” in a public restroom and using “Another One Rides The Bus” as a showdown against Wolfman Jack and (Queen bassist) John Deacon are hyperventilating highlights where the laughter rolls on. Once caught in the rinsing-and-repeating cycle, the movie’s serious amusement becomes simply silly as Weird lapses to a series of asides.
Weird is charming and hilarious fun; goofy enough that his fans will watch on repeat. As an epic parody, though, Weird becomes too heavy and falls into its own cliche. Unless, of course, that was “Weird Al’s” last laugh all along.