“Weird: The Al Yankovic Story” certainly earns its title, functioning, fittingly, not as an actual movie biography, but as a weird parody, full of comedic cameos and odd flights of fancy.
Starring Daniel Radcliffe and produced and co-written by Yankovic himself, like its namesake songs, it’s a little too silly at times, but it’s still energetic and attention-grabbing enough to help put the easily ignored Roku channel on the radar of people
The fun idea behind the whole project, which is augmented by a spoof movie trailer released in 2010, is that a Weird Al biopic doubles as one of his lead songs, taking the shape of the genre but turning it on its head. Throw in a who’s who of comedy talent that pops up along the way, and there’s something to keep viewers engaged and mostly entertained, while you might be Googling to see where (if at all) the truth lies.
Take Yankovic’s parents, who told him bluntly at a young age, “Stop being who you are and doing the things you love.” Or the way he starts playing the accordion, after his father beats a door-to-door salesman within an inch of his life.
Finally, there’s Al who stumbles into his music career, turning the song “My Sharona” into “My Bologna” on the fly when his roommates ask him to make sandwiches, then catching the attention of the teacher /disc-jockey Dr. . Demento (Rainn Wilson), who actually played a role in Yankovic’s discovery, but not in the way shown here.
The film embarks on its strangest odyssey by charting Al’s relationship with Madonna (Evan Rachel Wood, in a rather odd impersonation), who actually asked him to parody one of her songs, but maybe not she became his girlfriend and at some point stayed. kidnapped
Directed by Eric Appel (who produced the aforementioned short and shares the screenplay with Yankovic, who also has a cameo), “Weird” is produced via the folks at Funny or Die. At first glance, the idea of producing something completely different around Yankovic, imbued with the same playful irreverence he brought to his tunes, seems like just what the doctor ordered.
Given its slender underpinnings, the idea of it ending a little before it all seems inevitable and tolerable, especially when you consider that the most memorable creations of its subject clock in at around three minutes, at most.
In some ways, nothing could be a more perfect sign of the content hunger in the streaming age than blowing up a bite-sized comedy short into a full-blown movie. Still, even considering the fact that “Weird” isn’t much more than a snack, as the man in question sang, eat it.
“Weird: The Al Yankovic Story” premieres Nov. 4 on the Roku channel.