Weird: The Al Yankovic Story
✰✰✰½ (out of five)
Synopsis: The unexaggerated true story about the greatest musician of our time. From a conventional upbringing where playing the accordion was a sin, "Weird Al" Yankovic rebels and makes his dream of changing the words to world-renowned songs come true. An instant success and sex symbol, Al lives an excessive lifestyle and pursues an infamous romance that nearly destroys him.
Review: My first concert was "Weird" Al Yankovic, so needless to say, there was a strong anticipation on my part for "Weird: The Al Yankovic Story." Anyone who has followed the notable song parody artist knows the charm he carries, whether the parodies are exceptional or less than: you know you'll be entertained no matter what.
Ultimately, "Weird" does that, but not without some humor really pushed hard and sometimes forced. What benefits Yankovic as a performer is the writing--as in the original song. The saying goes "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery," but sometimes the outcome is better when the source material is better. So could be said about "Weird," a fictionalized parody of the man Weird Al. He himself joked on his Behind the Music why he is the subject of one of the VH1 show's episodes--no drugs, drinking, sex scandals, etc. So for "Weird," they created it all in a quasi-"Walk Hard" manner with multiple tropes of musician biopics.
With Daniel Radcliffe leading the way as the titular man, the man once known as Harry Potter is fighting different demons. Sex, drugs, Dr. Dimento (Rainn Wilson), and a cold and calculating Madonna (played effortlessly and wonderfully by Evan Rachel Wood) all factor into Yankovic's downfall (in the movie) and subsequent redemption. It's an odd angle to take, but it is meant for laughs. The problem is that as charming as Radcliffe is as Al, the writing is just not strong enough to get past the charming stage. I sure as hell appreciate the cameos (very saturated, including one by the actual Al as a record producer turning the fake Al down). Everything feels forced, like they want to shake the audience awake, pleading why they are laughing consistently. Writer-director Eric Appel has some experience in spoofing genres, notably "Brooklyn Nine-Nine." I just don't think this was at that level either; it's filled with hit-or-miss.
In some weird (no pun intended) way, Roku and their Roku Channel streaming service is going meta, like all other things. With so many streaming services throwing original content on the wall, not caring of what quality sticks but only with the goal to elbow their ways to a seat at the table. It is a bit of unintended consequences that Roku aimed to make a mainstream splash with a parodied biopic of a notable parody artists, despite it's outcome not quite being of the level of it's subject.
In the end, "Weird" is charming to recommend, and I was entertained enough to give it positive grading, but not without some reservations about the filler in this bologna.
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