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‘WEIRD: The Al Yankovic Story’ (review)

There had never been anyone quite like Weird Al Yankovic before the accordion-playing comedian came along with “My Bologna” (for the uninitiated, it is a parody of The Knack’s 1979 classic “My Sharona”), a serenade to sandwich-making that turned out to be the catalyst for a decades-long career that has left an indelible mark on pop culture at large with Yankovic’s legendary parodies of chart toppers.

Sure, parody has always been an element of the entertainment industry, but what makes Yankovic’s efforts stand out is how he consistently has managed to be wildly creative, just as he never relies on resorting to maliciousness to garner laughs.

Naturally, when the time then came for Yankovic to get the biopic treatment, this obviously had to be a parody of the biopic genre, and much like his music is synonymous with unbridled silliness, his biopic of course follows suit with a fast-paced and hilariously nonsensical spoof comedy.

Utilizing the Roku Channel as its platform, WEIRD: The Al Yankovic Story unsurprisingly had to be a low budget production, however, this is not a hindrance whatsoever, as the film does not require expensive sets or locations to tell its ludicrous story – in fact, you may even argue that the modest budget is part of the charm of the film.

Similarly, the star power of the film will likely also manage to positively surprise many viewers.

This is not only in terms of the seemingly endless parade of cameos – which prove exactly how loved Yankovic is in show business – but also with regard to main stars Daniel Radcliffe and Evan Rachel Wood clearly having the time of their lives here.

Daniel Radcliffe continues to live his best weird life as an actor as he throws himself into the role of Yankovic, fully invested in the ridiculous, made-up story with complete abandon to his ego and any expectations viewers may have for how he will approach portraying the genius jokester from Lynwood, California.

Evan Rachel Wood also manages to amuse with her take on Madonna as the femme fatale leading Yankovic astray, her story arc both playing to stereotypes about the Queen of Pop, as well as subverting expectations with how her story arc hilariously and unexpectedly culminates.

Utterly inconsequential as the story is due to the narrative being a complete fabrication, it is nonetheless one of the funniest comedies of the year, not to mention one of the best spoof comedies in general in recent memory.

That is not to say that the film is perfect by any means.

Around the middle of the film, it does start to drag somewhat and slightly lose its steam, but it eventually picks up the pace again, making its 1 hour and 48 minutes go by faster than most films of that duration do.

Another concern is that while the film has largely left attendees at preview screenings howling with laughter, Weird Al Yankovic is ultimately the kind of comedian whose humor you either love or loathe, meaning your mileage may vary with how funny you will actually find this BS biopic.

Some will find its degree of silliness and complete refusal to be serious for even a moment to be too over the top, and one inevitably has to find Yankovic amusing in general to be able to enjoy the film fully.

However, if one considers oneself a fan of Yankovic’s humor, WEIRD: The Al Yankovic Story will deliver a relentless barrage of silly jokes that largely land, makes one think fondly back on the many iconic parodies Yankovic has concocted through the decades, and – most importantly – appreciate that no one is safe from getting spoofed by Weird Al Yankovic, not even Weird Al Yankovic himself.

Verdict: 8 out of 10

WEIRD: The Al Yankovic Story is currently streaming on Roku
*  *  *  *  *
Produced by “Weird Al” Yankovic, Eric Appel, Mike Farah, Joe Farrell,
Whitney Hodack, Tim Headington, Lia Buman, Max Silva

Written by “Weird Al” Yankovic, Eric Appel
Based on Weird: The Al Yankovic Story
by Funny or Die and Eric Appel
Directed by Eric Appel
Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Evan Rachel Wood, Rainn Wilson,
Toby Huss, Julianne Nicholson, Quinta Brunson

 

 

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