Title – Weird: The Al Yankovic Story (2022)
Director – Eric Appel (feature debut)
Cast – Daniel Radcliffe, Julianne Nicholson, Evan Rachel Wood, Rainn Wilson
Plot – An untypical “biopic” of the life of famed parody singer/comedian Weird Al Yankovic (Radcliffe) and his rise to global superstardom.
“Life is like a parody of your favorite song. Just when you think you know all the words, surprise, you don’t know anything”
Review by Eddie on 21/11/2022
A weird and wacky “biopic” befitting of an equally weird and wacky entertainer, Weird: The Al Yankovic Story is a music bio more in line with the crazy Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story than say Walk the Line or Ray, as first time feature director Eric Appel and star Daniel Radcliffe combine forces with Al Yankovic himself to give us one of 2022’s more notable comedies.
For anyone seeking a warts and all examination of the rise to super stardom of the accordion playing jokester, Weird is going to be an extremely frustrating experience with Appel’s film jam-packed full of deviations, half-truths and outright fabrications that makes the discernment between fact and fiction almost impossible to decipher, as we spend a whirlwind 100 minutes following Yankovic from shy and misunderstood boy through to a stadium playing cultural icon.
Rarely pausing for a breath or bothering to explain itself along the way, Weird see’s the one time Harry Potter Radcliffe once more prove his living out one of the most intriguing and enjoyable Hollywood careers, with the performer once more proving he is more than a boy wizard with a committed and fun turn as Yankovic that showcases a whole other side to an actor that has done about all that is possible to give us hard evidence he can just about do it all.
Sporting a look that’s instantaneously associated with Yankovic’s vibe and Hawaiian shirt sporting persona, it’s hard to imagine anyone else doing a better job than Radcliffe at bringing Yankovic to life on screen and surrounded by seasoned professionals such as Julianne Nicholson as Yankovic’s mother Mary, Evan Rachel Wood as Madonna and Rainn Wilson as Dr. Demento, Radcliffe rounds out a solid ensemble that also features standout cameos from the likes of Jack Black, Patton Oswalt and Josh Groban.
Amongst all the enjoyable off-kilter moments and wild detours (that includes an extended sequence of a fight against Mexican drug cartels) there are a few moments that Weird doesn’t always hit the right note between entertainment and just plain old randomness for the sake of randomness but for the most part it’s hard not to enjoy a feature that is trying its best to offer something different in a genre that usually likes to play it as close as it can to the rulebook, with Yankovic himself no doubt proud to prove once more his one of the best in the business at doing things outside of the normal.
Final Say –
Likely to be frustrating to those wanting to know the cold hard facts, Weird: The Al Yankovic Story is destined for future cult status as a wild and unpredictable insight into the life, times and imagination of one of the more influential entertainers of the modern era.
3 1/2 destructive celebrations out of 5