Weird: The Al Yankovic Story

The ROKU Channel

Given that "Weird Al" Yankovic became famous for parodying other people's songs, it's no surprise that his "biopic" is a parody of the genre.

The movie, co-written by Yankovic and director Eric Appel, showcases the imagined life story of the comedy singer and accordion player (played by Daniel Radcliffe).

It charts the traditional course from childhood to career breakthrough with songs like Eat It and My Bologna and hits familiar biopic beats - the alcohol problem, the fling with a famous singer (Madonna, played by Evan Rachel Wood) and the dispute with his band. None of those beats actually happened but it's easy to believe they did because they occur so often in music biopics.

There are a few nuggets of truth in the story but the vast majority is made up. Some scenes will prompt you to go home and research whether they're true or not but there are other sequences you'll know are fake straight off the bat because they are so ridiculous - such as a John Wick-style fight.

The film is very silly but side-splittingly funny. The tone is tongue-in-cheek and hammy so you'll instantly know not to take it seriously. It gets a bit too absurd and slightly less hilarious towards the end but it returns to form for the conclusion and ends in a genius way.

Appel amps up the comedy with the score. He uses stirring, heartfelt music that you'd typically hear in straightforward biopics and the juxtaposition between the sincere music and bonkers moments onscreen is used to great effect.

The movie is more amusing if you are well aware of Weird Al's back catalogue because you'll know what song is being teed up. The story often provides the imagined inspiration for a tune before launching into a performance of it and you feel in on the joke if you know what track is coming up.

Despite the curly wig, moustache, glasses and Hawaiian shirt get-up, Radcliffe doesn't look much like Al - but he doesn't need to in this make-believe story. He throws his all into the role and his energy is infectious.

Wood gets free rein to experiment with Madonna (and the character gets an interesting trajectory) and seems to be having a ball in the iconic Desperately Seeking Susan-era look. Elsewhere, Rainn Wilson is a fun addition as Al's mentor, radio DJ Dr. Demento. This is packed full of celebrity cameos so keep your eye out for those!

In a world of serious, conventional music biopics, Weird is a breath of fresh air and a ridiculous satire of the genre.

Streaming on The ROKU Channel from Friday 4th November.