TIFF ’22: ‘Weird: The Al Yankovic Story’ Review

By: Amanda Guarragi

There have been good biopics played by the book and great biopics that dare to do something different. Weird: The Al Yankovic Story directed by Eric Appel takes all the beautiful things about Weird Al and fuses them into every aspect of this movie. It is co-written by Al Yankovic and is one of the most over-the-top and hilarious biopics that has come out in a while. Daniel Radcliffe’s performance is outrageous, whacky and downright hilarious. He completely embodied Al Yankovic and is truly the only person who has that level of energy to bring his story to the big screen. Eric Appel made sure that audiences could step into Al Yankovic’s mind and explore his creativity through music.

From the moment the film begins we are sucked into the world of Al Yankovic. It’s fast-paced, electric and intriguing. Appel takes us back to the 80s and the eclectic atmosphere that comes with it. The fashion was different, the music genres were more distinct, and finding your way through the music industry was difficult. There are cameos throughout that guide Al Yankovic through different stages of his life because his parents (specifically his father) don’t believe in him. There is an emotional connection to Al Yankovic wanting to achieve his dreams despite his parents’ reservations. Sure, that aspect feels generic, but the way that it is executed is completely different. Al Yankovic flips everything on its head and changes the cliched dialogue everyone uses in biopics. 

The one-liners, cheesy dialogue, sarcasm and snappy comebacks make for some truly hilarious moments between the characters. The casting for the three stages of Weird Al in the movie was also spot on and consistent with the humour. Al Yankovic combined his love for music and his comedic talents when writing this screenplay and made for one of the most exuberant movies of the year. The way Appel showed how songs like “My Bologna”, “Eat It”, and “Another One Rides The Bus” were being created on the spot by Weird Al was inspiring. You will be dancing in your seat and entranced by how talented Al Yankovic is. This film’s music and sound design made every music sequence sound incredible. It’s one of the most entertaining movies of the year. 

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story is a wild ride from the beginning and the energy from the entire cast doesn’t waiver once. Daniel Radcliffe gives one of his best performances to date and Evan Rachel Wood shines as an altered version of Madonna. Everything that happens in this film is a hyperbolic retelling of Weird Al’s life. It’s hard to believe that this is a Roku Original Film and it would honestly be a disservice to Weird Al if it doesn’t get a theatrical release. This is one of the most unique biopics in years and his music career should be celebrated. Al Yankovic was able to live his dreams in his way and make new music that everyone can appreciate. In a way, this film is rediscovering the greatness of Weird Al. 

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