Streaming by way of the Roku Channel, ‘Weird: The Al Yankovic Story’ goals to do for parody track skilled ‘Weird’ Al Yankovic what ‘Walk The Line’ did for Johnny Cash or ‘Ray’ for Ray Charles. Simply in funnier type.
Extra in step with parodies of the style similar to ‘Walk Hard’, ‘Bizarre’ takes the idea of the music star biopic and completely goes for broke in a method that recollects the ‘Naked Gun’ motion pictures or the ‘Airplane!’ movies of Jerry Zucker, Jim Abrams and David Zucker’s time.
Yankovic, let’s not overlook, made cameos in all three ‘Bare Gun’ movies.
Directed by Eric Appel, a veteran of the ‘Humorous or Die’ web site (and loosely based mostly on brief on-line trailer model hosted there, which stars ‘Breaking Dangerous’s Aaron Paul as Yankovic), the movie, co-written by Yankovic and Appel, chronicles a big swathe of Yankovic’s youth and profession.
Besides, this can be a removed from factual account, which appears becoming for a person who has made a profession out of humorous parody songs, huge hair and a expertise for the accordion.
His profitable profession – he’s the biggest-selling comedy recording artist of all time, with 5 Grammys beneath his belt, a 2014 launch in ‘Necessary Enjoyable’ that turned the primary comedy album in historical past to debut at #1 on Billboard’s Prime 200 and being one in all solely three artists to have had their very own high 40 hits in every of the final 4 a long time – is definitely materials for a stable film. Nevertheless it’s rather more entertaining that the musician and Appel have liberally invented milestones in his life.
After an in media res opening with Yankovic being rushed into surgical procedure, we’re launched to younger “Alfie” as a child (performed by Richard Aaron Anderson) who lives along with his delicate, understanding mom Mary (Julianne Nicholson) and his no-nonsense, god-fearing father Nick (Toby Huss), who expounds on his work at an area manufacturing facility and the way if Al would solely conform to let him “put a phrase in”, the job would make a person out of him. By no means thoughts that it has the next fatality fee than ‘Spinal Tap’s drummers.
Destiny intervenes when a door-to-door accordion salesman (Thomas Lennon) stops by, and whereas he’s roundly assaulted by Nick for tempting the younger Yankovic with the “demonic” instrument, Al’s mom quietly buys it for him in secret.
That results in a quick, even funnier part during which teenage Al (David Bloom) is launched to the idea of polka events the place his abilities make him an enormous hit – a minimum of till the police raid the house of one in all his mates.
Quickly, we’re catching up with college-age Al (now Daniel Radcliffe, who commits fully to the function, even when he doesn’t completely nail Yankovic’s voice), who in a memorable sequence, invents his first huge parody track with ‘My Bologna’ after listening to The Knack’s ‘My Sharona’ on the radio whereas making sandwiches for his encouraging roommates.
Making enjoyable of flicks similar to ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, the place well-known songs are generated seemingly out of nowhere for dramatic impact, the tone right here is only one in all enjoyable.
With an help from radio DJ Dr. Demento (Rainn Wilson) and a efficiency at a punk membership that goes surprisingly effectively, Al is on his method, even when he has but to impress snobby music executives (performed amusingly by Will Forte and the true Yankovic, who has a blast demeaning and critiquing his avatar).
Issues snowball from there, with Yankovic turning into vastly well-known, attracting the eye of Madonna (Evan Rachel Wood), who turns into his tempestuous lover and Pablo Escobar (Arturo Castro), his greatest fan – who will later trigger issues for him.
It’s a wild and wooly trip, going for broke at each second and squeezing as a lot humor as potential out of Yankovic’s life with a hilariously pretend historical past. But in some way, if typically comes throughout as much less preposterous as some real-life biopics.
Radcliffe, who in his post-‘Harry Potter’ profession has proved one of the crucial recreation and adaptable younger actors, right here reveals comedy chops, slapping on a curly wig and pretend Moustache to convey Al to life (with a little bit assist from the real-life model on the subject of the songs).
He’s vanity-free, nimble and humorous, and matched within the main stakes by Wooden, who brings ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’-era Madonna to life with verve and an countless provide of chewing gum.
Actual-life folks crop up in all places, often performed by comedians and comedy-focused actors together with Quinta Brunson as Oprah Winfrey, Conan O’Brien as Andy Warhol, Akiva Shaffer as Alice Cooper and Jack Black as Wolfman Jack, who, together with Queen’s John Deacon (David Dastmalchian) challenges Al to give you a brand new track at one in all Demento’s pool events.
The outcome, just like the ‘My Bologna’ scene, is the spontaneous start of ‘One other One Rides the Bus’, sending Deacon off embarrassed.
‘Bizarre’s leisure worth dips a little bit in direction of the top, the place the tone turns into ever zanier and the joke can’t fairly maintain a full-length movie, however earlier than that occurs, it has simply earned its place amongst nice spoofs.
Yankovic’s descent into the everyday drink, medication and intercourse scene of some exhausting partying rockers is even funnier when that in his actual life, he’s a clean-living vegetarian whose late mother and father have been extremely supportive.
That is an artist getting the prospect to reside out their fantasy of how their profession may need turned out, have been it not for the truth that they have been profitable on their very own phrases and by no means fell into such clichéd methods.
We’re grateful he discovered a strategy to do it, although, because it makes for an excellent funnier story than a few of his songs.
‘Bizarre: The Al Yankovic Story’ receives 3.5 out of 5 stars.