Review of “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story” (2022)

A man in a plaid shirt playing the accordion up close.

This is based on Weird Al’s actual life, but with lots of fictional elements. The reason being is because Weird Al or Alfred Yankovic, his real name, has produced many parodies of different songs. 

Young Al, known as Alfred, is playing on some device which his mom doesn’t want him using. She tells him that he’s lucky that his dad didn’t see that, because he would have been a lot angrier. 

While at dinner, Alfred’s dad demands that he works in a factory, while he wants to produce song parodies. He starts a parody of “Amazing Grace,” to “Amazing Grapes.” His dad gets mad. His mom says that he has his reasons against it, but considers Alfred too young to know what. 

When Alfred is a teenager, he sneaks out to a polka party at somebody’s house. They pressure him to play the accordion, but he resists. Then the guests perform “The Chicken Dance” to make fun of him for being afraid to play his instrument. Alfred proves that he is not scared, and plays his accordion… until the cops arrive. They take Alfred back home. 

His dad sees the accordion, and is appalled. He destroys it, angering Alfred even more. He has had it with his parents forbidding him to follow his dreams. 

Years have passed, and Alfred is now a young man, living in an apartment with 3 other roommates. When one of the guys is having an issue with his bologna, Alfred sings a song about it in a parody of another song. 

His roommates tell him that fame does not happen overnight. But right after that, Alfred gets a call about how his song parody played on the radio. He then gets a call from an agency to promote his song parodies. However, one of the agents puts him down, claiming that he will fail to please the public. Nevertheless, things went well from there. 

At some point, though, Alfred falls in love with Madonna. That causes him to ruin his own reputation, and even his relationships with his roommates, who are also his friends.

For instance, Alfred produces the song, “Eat it,” but denies it being a parody of Michael Jackson’s song, “Beat it.” Will he continue to follow his dreams that his parents didn’t want him to pursue? How will that end up?

Despite finding it hard to see Daniel Radcliffe dressed as Weird Al and portraying him well, I ended up admiring it, especially with him talking in an American accent. I’ve actually seen Daniel Radcliffe in a couple of live performances where he did American accents. The first one was in “How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying,” which was on Broadway in 2011. From my perspective, he sounded uncomfortable speaking in an American accent (although I could be wrong). Many years later, I saw him in another show called, “The Lifespan of a Fact.” He seemed more comfortable doing an American accent at that point.

What amused me more, and even cracked me up, was when his character started singing silly parodies, like “I Love Rocky Road,” based off of “I Love Rock and Roll,” or “Another One Rides the Bus,” based off of “Another One Bites the Dust.” I enjoyed those so much, especially since I don’t remember ever seeing Daniel Radcliffe be funny in any movie or show I’ve seen. But I haven’t seen everything he’s been in; so maybe if I saw the rest of his films or performances, I might laugh at what his characters do at times.

It wasn’t just Daniel Radcliffe’s depiction of Weird Al I found to be funny. The scene where everyone at the polka party does “The Chicken Dance” to make fun of him for being afraid to play the accordion cracked me up since I found it clever, and would never have expected something out-of-the-box like that.

One moment that stands out to me is a scene where his music manager, Dr. Demento, offers him some treats, which causes him to hallucinate. He sees his parents prohibiting him from pursuing his desires, the agent who put him down and said that he was going to fail, and other creepy moments… which ended with him coming out of an egg, playing “Beat it.”

For the most part, the film kept me engaged. But there were a few moments that bored me a bit. I can’t recall which ones, but they likely had little to no action or conflict.

Unsurprisingly, the movie began lighthearted, but intensified about halfway through. Not all films do this–but a good number of them do.

Various twists and turns occur as well, both happy and sad. Some might be accurate, but others are fictionalized, such as Weird Al dating Madonna. I don’t know if there is a word for a movie based on somebody’s actual life, but with around half the elements being inaccurate, even if there’s a purpose for that.

If you are interested in seeing it, note that it’s only available on The Roku Channel. That might change, though, as it did with other movies that were first released to one streaming service. Eventually, they became available to Amazon prime video, YouTube, etc.

Also, even though it is not rated, it isn’t something appropriate for younger kids. Aside from the hallucination scene, there are some moments with drinking and weapons. But I think it should be fine for those 13 and up. I don’t think there was much in the way of profanity, and definitely no uses of the F-word.

I would give “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story,” 4 out of 5 stars. 

Published by Sunayna Prasad

I enjoy writing stories, creating artwork, watching movies and TV shows, cooking, and traveling. These are the topics of my posts. I also publish books, where you can learn about them on my website, www.sunaynaprasadbooks.com. Be sure to copy and paste the link and subscribe to my newsletter on the email list button on the homepage.

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