Weird:  The Al Yankovic Story (N/C) |Close-Up Film Review

Dir. Eric Appel, US, 2022, 108 mins

Cast:  Daniel Radcliffe, Evan Rachel Wood

Review by Carol Allen

Weird Al Yankovic was a cult figure in America in the eighties.  A rock singer who achieved fame and a big following by parodying other artists songs.  I have no idea how he managed the copyright issue here but apparently it upped the sales of the originals, so perhaps nobody bothered to pursue that one.

But anyway, he was weird, is weird.  Weird enough to co-write his own spoof biopic here with director Eric Appel.   Even weirder it might seem was to cast English actor Daniel Radcliffe to play the title role.  Rather like asking Chris Pine to take the lead in a biopic of the late British comedian Rik Mayall..   However since his Harry Potter days Radcliffe has spent a lot of time working in America, in fact describes himself as a “secret American” and has indeed become a fan of Weird Al.  

So all dolled up in Al’s trademark gear – wild and woolly hairdo, moustache, big round specs and Hawaiian shirt – here he is, having a ball and actually being rather good.

This is a spoof, so how much of it is true, as a Brit I have no idea.  Did he grow up in a blue collar town with an abusive dad and an early passion for playing the accordion?   Did he number Andy Warhohl and Salvador Dali among his admirers?  Was he courted and seduced by the young Madonna, who hoped he would parody “Like A Virgin” and increase her sales?   Dunno but Evan Rachel Wood as the “Material Girl” is also great fun – all flounces and ribbons and continually blowing gum bubbles.

Al and Eric’s spoofy movie is loud, brash, mad and very entertaining, even if you too have never heard of its hero.   And it can only be seen on the new Roku streaming service, where it is being fanfared as their big launch event.