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Weird: The Al Yankovic Story is the Perfect Parody of a Man Made Perfect Parodies

Photo Credit: Ginsberg Libby/Roku Channel

The life story of “Weird Al” Yankovic has told to audiences through books, podcasts, and television specials – it’s out there for anyone to discover on any platform you can find.

However, if you think you know the truth behind the king of pop song parodies, you are sadly mistaken. Thankfully, the film Weird – which is available on the Roku Channel — will take you on the real journey of an amazingly accomplished auteur.

Spoiler alert: no, it actually won’t.

And that’s the best thing about this whole silly saga. It knocks at the door of real things containing Al and his life, but it never fully opens up into truth.

A Weird Al movie trailer was released back in 2013 as Funny or Die short, poking fun at Al’s antics as a cliched songsmith (but sillier!) who drinks, has relations with other pop star personalities, and crashes and burns in their career. The trailer starred Aaron Paul as Al, Patton Oswalt as his mentor Dr. Demento, Olivia Wilde as Madonna, and Gary Cole and Mary Steenburgen as Al’s parents. It was a hilarious little trailer that played during costume changes at Yankovic’s concerts for many years.

Fast forward 9 years and an updated trailer was released for a full length “Weird Al” movie. This time Daniel Radcliffe plays the titular character, with Evan Rachel Wood as Madonna, and Rainn Wilson as Dr. Demento.

If you’re asking yourself why a full movie was needed, and why the old trailer just wasn’t enough, Al himself said that fans were clamoring for an actual film so why not give in?

In the truest comparison to Al’s career, much how UHF poked fun at television and spoofed movies, Weird makes Al’s life a parody. The elements of the old trailer are infused into this movie – a down-on-his-luck artist struggles to make it big and then succumbs to stardom, but literally overnight. However, the movie escalated into outrageous, over the top moments that are so insane you can’t help but laugh.

And the laughs happen … a lot. This reviewer found himself laughing so many times at the absurdity of this movie, a very “so stupid but so funny” film, much in the same vein as films like Naked Gun, Hot Shots, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, the latter being the most comparable. It just sets up craziness surrounding our hero and takes it from there.

Speaking of our “hero,” Radcliffe’s portrayal of Al is so good. He demonstrates a sincerity as the character early on that seems close to the real thing, but as the film presses on, Radcliffe’s demeanor changes as he encounters the hurdles being thrown at his character, and he just sells it all beautifully. His lip synching to Al’s real singing is also pretty good, theatrically at least, and the line between spoken dialogue and singing is never meant to be taken seriously anyway, but you never really lose sight that they could be one and the same.

As great as Radcliffe is, Evan Rachel Wood’s Madonna may steal the show. She has all her mannerisms, and even sounds like Madonna when talking! It’s incredible. It’s surprising how much she’s in the movie but she’s actually a pretty big part of the story — driving a wedge between Al and those who believed in him from the get-go. More on that in a second.

Wood and Radcliffe are awesome, and they help elevate the movie when needs it. I wouldn’t say Weird is too long, but because it relies on the cliche stuff — aka band breaking up and getting back together, parent disowning a child but then reuniting with said child — it loses some traction in those moments because it’s predictable. The movie succeeds best when it’s unpredictable, and that’s thankfully pocketed in many other areas of the film, including a third act that literally comes out of nowhere and an ending that is kind of brilliant.

I’ve been a fan of Weird Al since childhood, seen him in concert twice, and even got to meet him at a local horror convention. He’s an incredible live performer, a genius at wordplay, and also very nice and soft spoken based on my interaction. The movie “based” on his life may not even come close to factual based on my historical understanding of Alfred Yankovic, but having his legacy be completely undermined by buffoonery seems like the most authentic way to tell his story.

Weird is a ridiculous romp through Al’s life, bringing in a boat load of cameos to boot (even the man himself), all friends of the actual Al. The movie is best when it’s just drops the reigns and goes for the gusto, and thankfully there’s enough of that here to make it a truly entertaining watch. Radcliffe and Wood’s performances are way better than this movie deserved, and they take it next level. If you’re a fan of Al Yankovic, then you’ll have a wacky and wonderful time with Weird.

And hey, it’s a free watch on Roku too! Can’t beat it.

Or…eat it?

Weird: The Weird Al Yankovic Story is now streaming on the Roku Channel.


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