Full disclosure: I’ve been a fan of Weird Al since I was a kid. Growing up, I had a cassette player in my room, and most of my tapes were Al’s. Even as I transitioned to an MP3 player in the fourth grade, a lot of the tracks were his too. So I’m fully aware that I may be biased, but I truly believe that Weird: The Al Yankovic Story provides a take on the typical biographical film that anyone, fan or otherwise, can enjoy.
Just as Yankovic is a parody musician, Weird is a parody of the typical biographical film (more commonly called biopics). Events in Al’s life are dramatized — and later full-on fabricated — for comedic effect. The third act in particular exaggerates Al’s life to the extreme even by parody standards.
The movie’s gradual shift from little white lies to outlandish fiction helps ensure that the main joke — being a parody biopic — doesn’t get old. Starting smaller gives the movie room to grow and the audience time to ramp up to the wilder scenes in the movie.
This movie employs my favourite brand of humour: it’s zany and — for lack of a better term — weird without stopping to ground itself. Too many movies and shows recently have felt the need to have a straight man character to acknowledge when something weird happens. This can range from a simple quip like “um… awkward…” to characters dissecting events as they happen, and frankly it’s refreshing to see a movie just let the jokes speak for themselves.
Weird stars Daniel Radcliffe as Alfred Yankovic. Is Radcliffe a believable Al? No. He looks and sounds nothing like him, and every time he’s on screen you’ll look at him and think, “That’s Daniel Radcliffe in a wig” — which, of course, makes him perfect for this role.
Biopics tend to star celebrities who barely resemble the people they portray, and Radcliffe as Al plays into that. Weird reinforces this whenever Al sings in the movie; it is replaced with the actual Al Yankovic’s singing, which sounds nothing like Radcliffe. And that’s not to say that Radcliffe did a bad job here, far from it. All of the actors performed their roles well, even if some, like Jack Black and Radcliffe, stood out more than others.
The main criticism I have is that the second act does feel a bit by the numbers, hitting all the same beats as any other biopic. This is partially a result of it being a parody movie — if you’re parodying a genre you need to be a little generic — and the third act does remedy this issue. However, there were moments where it felt like the movie was relying a little too hard on the joke just being “Weird Al is doing rockstar things” and not much beyond that.
Additionally, Weird being a Roku channel exclusive does make it a bit tricky to access. Roku is a streaming service tied to Roku-eligible products, either external streaming players or certain brands of smart TVs. While Roku has made its service available via web browsers, attempting to access this movie through their site just redirects you to the trailer on YouTube.
This seems to be a regional restriction, as I’ve heard plenty of Americans can access it just fine. However, if you’re in Canada and you don’t have a Roku device it seems that you’ll be unable to watch this movie, which is frustrating when you know that you can watch it for free just a half hour drive away from Brock.
Despite the slower second act and the potential issues in accessing the movie, I still recommend watching Weird. Even if you aren’t familiar with Weird Al, the movie establishes all you need to know quickly and the humour doesn’t rely on Weird Al knowledge to be effective. If you’re looking for a movie dedicated to making you laugh — and which can actually deliver on it — Weird provides just that.