Weird: The Al Yankovic Story review #TIFF22

Directed by Eric Appel | Written by Appel and ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic | 108 min 

People may not recall that the legendary comedy musician, ‘Weird Al,’ was a film star, briefly, in 1989’s comedy bomb, UHF. This is another thing entirely, a spoof of the surprisingly popular music biopic genre, the Rocket Mans and Bohemian Rhapsodys of the movie world. They’re entirely ripe for this kind of takedown. In Weird we start with a young Alfie dreaming of an accordion, but his cruel father (Toby Huss) won’t hear of him being corrupted by that satanic squeezebox. Mom (Julianne Nicholson), is a little more understanding. You know how kids are, though, with their polka parties. Later, with the help of Dr Demento (Rainn Wilson) and Al’s incredible gift for finding new lyrics for pre-existing tunes, global stardom calls. We also get the full story of Al’s notorious, violent love affair with Madonna (Evan Rachel Wood, terrific).

That all of this is entirely fictional is a big part of joke. The best gags riff on Val Kilmer as Jim Morrison in The Doors and any number of Arnold Schwarzenegger movies, and if the picture’s frequently uneven script can’t sustain the energy of its madcap plotting into the last act, you’ve got to admire the commitment to the central gag and all the ways the filmmakers work Al’s songs into the story. A big tip of the accordion to the fearless Daniel Radcliffe in the lead, who holds it all together.

That this project was produced by and will eventually air on Roku makes it that much weirder. Those without said software hopefully will still be able to order it through digital services.

About the author


Carsten Knox is a massive, cheese-eating nerd. In the day he works as a journalist in Halifax, Nova Scotia. At night he stares out at the rain-slick streets, watches movies, and writes about what he's seeing.