As weird and funny as Al himself.
Daniel Radcliffe is outrageously funny and daring as Weird Al Yankovic, who has parodied hit songs-turning “My Sharona” into “My Bologna” or “I Love Rock n Roll” into “I Love Rocky Road.” “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story” is a fictionalized comedy biopic with a goofy appeal as “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story” or “This is Spinal Tap.”
We see his gifts being shunned by his hateful dad (Toby Huss) and mocked by society, but we also see his parodies being loved by fans. He knows how to play the accordion and rip off hit songs in a nanosecond. And the voice is so eccentric, it’s impossible to resist him.
He never dated Madonna (Evan Rachel Wood), but the movie likes to believe that they did, and she was only into him for the fame and money, not as a human being. She has the make-up and style to play the singer, and the movie also makes her out to be a villain. Even if her story doesn’t make sense, Wood still knows how to play this singer.
Dr. Demento (Rainn Wilson) helped bring him some recognition, and the movie shows us their chemistry, as Al listened to him all the time on the radio, and how the radio broadcaster acts as his voice of reasoning. The actor has the beard, glasses, and attitude to portray him. If you loved him as Dwight Shrute on “The Office,” you’ll get a kick out of him here.
It’s not as powerful in terms of its story, which seems flimsy at times, but anything is better than the Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which I thought was overrated. This is a small-time biopic on the Roku Channel that has its laughs, emotions, and cameos spoofing famous stars. You get Jack Black as Wolfman Jack, Jorma Taccone as Pee Wee Herman, even the real Weird Al Yankovic playing Tony Scotti, as well as Lin-Manuel Miranda, Seth Green, Michael McKean (who was also in “This is Spinal Tap”), and Will Forte, among others, popping in.
Sometimes the humor is mean, other times it’s stupid, and other times it’s really funny. It’s all made with appeal by TV director Eric Appel, who also wrote the screenplay with Weird Al. It has the looks and feels of a made-for-TV movie, and makes sense that it would play on the Roku Channel. But it also has enough entertainment value to keep fans laughing and watching at the same time.
Radcliffe singing voice was covered by Weird Al’s prerecorded songs and is shorter than the real deal in real life, but with the wig, glasses, and dialogue, this English actor is able to play this American character with comical and well-intended aspects. Out his “Harry Potter” resume, he’s able to show his levity, and he was funny and charming his year in “The Lost City,” and in “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story,” he keeps you going.
The movie is a parody and knows it’s a parody without succumbing to the idiocy that spoof filmmakers Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer have wasted away over the years, which is why we don’t hear from them anymore. The characters know they’re in a biopic and follow the rules wisely without acting being so typical. Even when the film tries to be serious, you’re still tickled by how Appel directs those scenes and how Radcliffe keeps it real as Weird Al.
Streaming on the Roku Channel