WEIRD: THE AL YANKOVIC STORY
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Evan Rachel Wood, Rainn Wilson, Toby Huss, and Julianne Nicholson
Director: Eric Appel
More satire than straight biopic, Weird is certainly one of the more outlandish film ideas I’ve seen in recent memory. Comedy is the focus here, and it works to varying degrees throughout the film. Unfortunately, the shtick director Eric Appel is going for gets a little tiresome, while the plot feels like it's missing parts. That said, it’s a fun watch. The cast is entertaining and there is an abundance of cameos, but overall, it all feels a little disjointed. It would have been better served were it a little more fleshed out.
As a Weird Al fan, I had high hopes for Weird, and generally speaking, it’s a fun ride. The concept is befitting the parody king (if a bit derivative of Walk Hard), but the movie’s runtime (108 minutes) outlasts the hilarity of the premise. It’s a one-note joke that delivers diminishing returns the longer it goes on. Daniel Radcliffe and Evan Rachel Wood seem to be having a blast, and the never-ending string of cameos and references to 80s personalities keep the movie humming along, but you can feel that this was an online short stretched into a feature length movie.
Weird: The Al Yankovic Story will hopefully do to musical biopics what Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story has done to them for more than a decade. This is a flawless parody that starts off lampooning genre tropes wonderfully and hysterically before going so far off the rails that I was almost shell-shocked. Daniel Radcliffe needs to keep doing these kinds of roles because he is hilarious in this movie. This is a film that truly succeeds every step of the way, and it’s the only way you could have truly done a Weird Al “biopic.”
Weird: The Al Yankovic Story is as hilarious and entertaining as one of Al’s multi-platinum hits, delivered in the only way a biopic of the parody master should be delivered. It’s clever, satirical, over-dramatic, and irreverently serious in all the best ways. Daniel Radcliffe has the perfect kind of weirdness needed to pull off Weird Al, and pull it off he does, excelling at taking the delightfully unserious seriously. Between his fantastic performance, numerous pitch-perfect cameos, and the paradoxical fake story of Weird Al’s real life, there was no better way to give this unique icon his flowers.
An absolute blast in all the best ways, Weird: The Al Yankovic Story is one of the best parody films in years, breathing new life into the genre with every absurdity it creates. Daniel Radcliffe is excellent as Yankovic, matched against some great comic actors that bring to life one of the funniest scripts of the year. Fittingly, the film parodies its own genre as much as Weird Al has parodied music, refusing to take itself seriously yet never letting the audience get bored. Some jokes work better than others, but there’s hardly a moment I didn’t genuinely enjoy.
Weird: The Al Yankovic Story is one of the most bizarre movies I’ve ever seen. This ridiculousness may be the dumbest movie of the year, while somehow possibly being one of the funniest too. If you don’t understand Weird Al's sense of humor, then this flick may not be for you; however, if you do, get ready to enjoy this bold-as-hell music biopic. It’s loads of fun, especially with Daniel Radcliffe fully embracing the wackiness of it all. It’s a parody of parodies, and the perfect biopic for Weird Al.
This film was reviewed by Nick, Quentin, and Adriano as part of Bitesize Breakdown's coverage of the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival.