Roku’s Weird Al film is ridiculous in the absolute best methods


Weird: The Al Yankovic Story opens with a shirtless Daniel Radcliffe screaming in a hospital, demanding a pencil and paper from Lin-Manuel Miranda. Things solely get weirder from there. Though it might appear like the life story of the titular parody singer, the film is definitely extra of a parody of biopics than anything. Much like Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story lampooned the various overserious movies about main musical stars, Weird does the identical, solely it pretends to be about an actual individual. After watching it, I don’t suppose I do know something new about Yankovic — and I positively know loads of issues that aren’t remotely true. Fittingly for a man who writes absurd lyrics over well-liked songs, Weird takes a preferred idea — the music biopic — and makes it equally absurd. In the identical manner that I nonetheless can’t consider when “Amish Paradise” will get caught in my head, I couldn’t consider how a lot I laughed throughout Weird.

The film follows the standard route of the biopic. We begin with humble beginnings, transfer to the meteoric rise to stardom, and undergo via the tragic fall from grace earlier than lastly hitting the redemptive conclusion. The distinction right here is that just about every little thing is made up, and the filmmakers have little interest in telling you what’s actual or faux.

Yankovic’s love of the accordion, as an illustration, is become a defiant act of insurrection. His father, a stern man who works at a harmful manufacturing unit that creates… one thing, calls musical parodies “evil” and Al’s instrument of selection “the devil’s squeezebox.” Later on, an older Yankovic is busted by the cops after sneaking out to carry out at a highschool polka occasion. But the film actually kicks into gear — and will get utterly ridiculous — once we meet grownup Weird Al, performed by Radcliffe.

For starters, his meteoric rise occurs actually in a single day, and his success is comically enormous: he’s on the quilt of each journal, named sexiest man alive, and breaks nearly each gross sales report within the trade. He turns into the most important star on the planet, and different pop stars beg him for parodies. At one level, at a celebration that includes everybody from Andy Warhol to Pee-wee Herman, Salvador Dalí exclaims that “Weird Al will change the world.” I don’t wish to spoil all the jokes, however to offer you a way of how unusual issues get, there’s an LSD journey via hell, a life-defining romance with Madonna, a retcon on the origins of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It,” and a feud with Pablo Escobar. My favourite ongoing joke is the a number of extraordinarily literal origin tales the movie comes up with for songs like “My Bologna” and “Like a Surgeon.” It even ends with a surprisingly candy (although additionally faux) origin for “Amish Paradise.”

What makes it work is how dedicated the movie is to the bit. It follows the musical biopic system precisely, however the diploma of absurdity simply retains increasing to the purpose that it doesn’t really feel all that misplaced when Yankovic ultimately turns into an extremely adept murderer operating via the jungles of Colombia. Radcliffe, specifically, actually sells it, enjoying the in-reality goofy Yankovic with a degree of seriousness that’s a perfect match for a music biopic. He narrates with a deep, gruff voice paying homage to basic film trailers and someway manages to show the long-lasting ‘stache, glasses, and Hawaiian shirts into a sexy ensemble. Yes, Weird Al is now hot. There are also oh so many cameos complimenting his performance, to the point that I want to rewatch it to see who I missed. (I won’t wish to break the various surprises.)

Now that I’ve seen the movie, I’ve realized that I most likely don’t desire a true-to-life story about Weird Al’s life anyway. Weird isn’t successful as a result of it offers me some form of deep perception into the tortured lifetime of an excellent artist. It’s successful as a result of it’s essentially the most excessive and unusual send-up of music biopics but, one which makes use of a real-life determine to make these goofy and positively not true moments hit even more durable.

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story is streaming on the Roku Channel beginning November 4th. This evaluation is predicated on a screening on the Toronto International Film Festival.


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