Comedic songwriter Weird Al Yankovic has enjoyed a musical career that’s spanned more than four decades. Getting his first taste of mainstream exposure in 1979 with “My Bologna”, his clever reworking of The Knack’s hit single “My Sharona”, Yankovic quickly emerged as a singular voice in the music industry. Fast forward to present day, more than 42 years since Weird Al’s introduction to the masses, and now he’s giving Hollywood a makeover with his groundbreaking parody to the modern and overdone biopic formula, Weird: The Al Yankovic Story.
A young Alfred Yankovic (played mostly by Daniel Radcliffe) struggles to find his personal identity in a household hellbent on shunning him from a life of Polka music. His accordion-hating father (Toby Huss) and ultra-obedient mother (Julianne Nicholson) create a suffocating home atmosphere that forces Al to move out and shack up with some friends. It’s in this apartment where Al discovers his ultimate destiny: to make up new words to songs that already exist.
Weird’s unapologetically over-the-top and insanely inaccurate recreation of the musical icon’s life is what makes it so amazing. The film plays as if you took the “Restaurant Scene” from the Farrelly brother’s comedy classic, Dumb and Dumber, and stretched it out for over an hour and a half. This biopic spoof transcends genre labels as it shoehorns laugh-out-loud humor, insane action and thrilling dramatics into this historically inaccurate examination of Weird Al’s life. It’s witty, wild and remarkably well done.
Daniel Radcliffe gives a fully-committed turn as the beloved polka pop parody artist while the audience navigates Weird Al’s unconventional life as a niche musical icon. Although Radcliffe’s performance probably won’t land him in the award’s season discussion, his work is of exceptionally high quality and undeniably essential to the film’s success. In addition, there are cameos abound, as everyone from Lin-Manuel Miranda to Conan O’Brien can be found mostly standing in for various cultural icons throughout the decades of Yankovic’s prominence. Their inclusion in this absurdly exaggerated tale of one man’s rise to stardom is both hysterical and imaginative. Weird will make you want to let your freak-flag-fly as not only an anthem for personal pride and acceptance, but also as one of 2022’s most unforgettable movie experiences.