Weird: The Al Yankovic Story Review: Roku's Faux Biopic Is As Lovingly Bonkers As The Man Himself

Weird Al fans finally have a worthy successor to UHF.

Quinta Brunson watches as Daniel Radcliffe shows off his gold records in Weird: The Al Yankovic Story.
(Image: © Roku/Funny or Die)

One of the most serious genres of movie has to be the biopic. Depicting the life and times of someone notable in pop culture can be a tall order to fill, as getting the vital details right are of absolute importance. Balancing reality and storytelling is just as hard when picking an actor to portray the person that’s being brought to life. But by throwing away all of those worries and concerns, co-writer/director Eric Appel has given the world perhaps the best biopic one could hope for: Weird: The Al Yankovic Story

In a world where the Accordion is an illicit organ and being different guarantees you’re going to beat the odds, “Weird" Al Yankovic (Daniel Radcliffe) shows an industry what it truly means to be weird... or at least that’s what this genre parody leads us to believe. Showing the truthfully false life story of Yankovic, including fabricated struggles with addiction and a relationship with Madonna (Evan Rachel Wood), we’re treated to a seriously funny spin on a movie we’ve seen plenty of times before. 

No one involved in Weird: The Al Yankovic Story is trying to make fun of or belittle the very serious subjects in the mix. Rather, much like the similarly inclined Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, the practice of the biopic itself is being given a well and proper roasting. Though it doesn’t get as ribald as its predecessor, Weird still takes no prisoners when sending up the genre.

If The Zucker Bros directed Walk The Line, Weird: The Al Yankovic Story is the movie you’d get.

In a sense, this Roku Channel original takes a similar approach to that of the Elton John biography Rocketman. Just as John’s story employed musical realism to tell the tale of his rise to fame, Weird: The Al Yankovic Story is told through a lens that the artist himself has personally approved of – which is to say that Yakovic himself co-wrote the expansion of Eric Appel’s original Funny or Die short. 

Basically, if you let The Zucker Brothers and their Airplane! team write and direct a movie like Walk The Line, Weird is the motion picture that would result (a compliment of the highest order). The lack of preoccupation with “the truth” allows this movie to hew closer to the spirit of "Weird" Al Yankovic’s music and image. It’s also the quickest way to make a really, really funny movie.

No one going into Weird: The Al Yankovic story should expect revelations about the man’s life. There are plenty of resources from which to learn Yankovic’s true story, and a couple of other parodies that lampoon the subject matter as well. What Weird Al fans should expect is a lovingly crafted Twinkie Wiener Sandwich of musical madness and mayhem.

Daniel Radcliffe and Evan Rachel Wood swing for the fences with over the top lunacy, and they do it in style.

For everyone that was in on the joke, the casting of Daniel Radcliffe and Evan Rachel Wood as Weird Al Yankovic and Madonna was already a promising foundation for Weird to rest its accordion on. Actors of serious talent and merit, both Radcliffe and Wood have it in them to let loose when the time calls. Part of the absolute joy this movie provides is in the fact that, in a blazing instance of lunacy, both of them are allowed to swing for the fences with how crazy they get.

Daniel Radcliffe’s Al plays like every other ungrateful, hard living legend that came from rough and tumble beginnings. Weird: The Al Yankovic Story never gives an inch on this obvious fabrication, and neither does Radcliffe’s interpretation. The world may know Weird Al as a fun prankster with a lyrically adept sense of humor, but the reality in this picture shows us an Al that revels in excess to a hilarious extent.

The same praise can be given to Evan Rachel Wood, whose Madonna matches Daniel Radcliffe’s Al when it comes to insanity. Starting out as the usual “bad influence” that leads our hero astray, Weird takes some very interesting liberties with another real-life artist it depicts. Without stooping to anything low or outright defaming, Wood’s Madonna is allowed to get crazy, while introducing some obstacles for “Weird" Al Yankovic to overcome.

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story is the next midnight movie craze waiting to happen, and for all the right reasons.

The same sort of cavalier spirit that made a cult classic out of Weird Al’s previous movie, UHF, is alive, well, and ready to bust out in his long awaited cinematic follow-up. It should be seen far and wide, especially on big screen if available.

Having a streaming home like The Roku Channel is perfect for a film like Weird, as a major studio might have been less inclined to gamble on such a movie. If that wasn’t the case, there probably would have been more creative controls in place to ensure that the movie was ready for the box office. By going a more low-key route, Weird is a movie that is allowed to exist in its best form possible. 

Whether it was intended or not, Weird: The Al Yankovic Story is the next midnight movie craze waiting to happen at a repertory theater near you. An audience crowd pleaser that ups the ante and never slows down, it really does exemplify the best of everything that Al himself stands for.  

This might not be the true story of Al Yankovic's career, but it's the most authentic story he'd want to tell on the matter at the movies. As such, Weird is a must see for anyone who's loved his music or his comedy. Loud Hawaiian shirts are optional, but that's subject to change if this film enjoys the long life it deserves.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.