'Weird: The Al Yankovic Story' Commits to the Bit

Directed by Eric Appel

Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Evan Rachel Wood, Rainn Wilson, Toby Huss, "Weird Al" Yankovic

Photo courtesy of TIFF

BY Alex HudsonPublished Nov 1, 2022

When making a film about a parodist, what could be more honest than turning it into a parody of the biopic genre itself? Weird: The Al Yankovic Story isn't remotely true except in spirit, since this film is every bit as absurd and downright silly as its subject.

Following a childhood of slapstick trauma and rebellious polka parties, an adult "Weird Al" Yankovic is played by a jacked-as-hell Daniel Radcliffe (who has certainly built a fun career for himself since his perilous beginnings as a child star). Imitating the self-serious formula of music biopics like Walk the Line, a string of knowingly overwrought scenes show what inspired some of Al's best-known parodies (making a sandwich leads to "My Bologna," etc.). As his fame grows, he heads down a dangerous path of alcohol and violence thanks to that villainous temptress Madonna (Evan Rachel Wood).

Weird commits to the bit, continually one-upping itself with ridiculousness and throwing in as many celebrity cameos as possible (including Yankovic himself, of course, playing a greedy record exec). It's a formula that can only result in the film going totally off the deep end in terms of strangeness, and Weird goes there — it's playing as part of TIFF's Midnight Madness programming after all, so it follows in the tradition of surreal B movies.

The film is based on director Eric Appel's 2010 Funny or Die sketch, and it essentially does the exact same joke for 100 minutes — making this a fun but inessential lark. Given the choice of Funny or Die, it's funny.

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