Editor’s Note: This article contains spoilers for “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story.”
With the upsurge of biopics in recent years, like “Elvis,” “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Rocketman,” the process of telling a musician’s lifetime story has become tiresome and redundant. That was until the most famous parody musician of all time, Weird Al Yankovic, told his "100% accurate" life story in “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story.”
It isn’t actually a biopic, as it is making fun of every other biopic that has been put out in recent years. It pokes fun at the stereotypical absurdities of becoming famous, whether it be the strong determination or the unexpected hardships they come across that turn everything around. Not to mention the typical parental issues many musicians face that also becomes a driving force for them.
In Yankovic's case, it doesn’t need to be because a biopic made to parody other biopics could only be done with Yankovic at the wheel. “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story” was the first to do a satirical biopic, but it’s refreshing to see another one, especially since the number of biopics has increased in recent years.
The man playing the comedic artist is none other than Daniel Radcliffe. The actor gives an exemplary performance, bringing in a sizable amount of charisma and providing worthy comedic timing. It’s easy to tell that he had lots of fun filming this role, as his appreciation and dedication for Yankovic’s honorable career shines through immensely. He’ll most likely not to get nominated for any awards for this role, unlike most biopic leading roles, though his performance still should be admired.
The first half of the film consists of Yankovic’s uprising, with a focus on his abusive parents constantly telling him not to follow his dreams. While it’s typical for most biopics to open with scenes like that, the film takes a more quirky, less saddening approach. Determined to become the best accordion player in a specific genre, he unsurprisingly leaves his home after graduating high school and never looks back.
The remaining half of the film follows his peak of fame, more so the growth of his character as he starts to become more self-centered. With his new girlfriend, '80s pop-star Madonna (Evan Rachel Wood), on his arms and famous drug lord Pablo Escobar (Arturo Castro) on his coattails, the film spirals into a wild, roller coaster ride of events. The film then ends with a shocking, abrupt ending that ties up all its absurdities into one big bow.
As ridiculous as it seems, the film has you believing that “King of Pop” Michael Jackson stole one of his songs from Yankovic, a dramatic but hilarious twist adding even more absurdity to the film, as if it didn’t already have enough. The film is already taking a daring leap by making Madonna the film’s antagonist. There comes a point, though, where it’s difficult to tell what is true and what is false. But one thing is certain: Yankovic did wear that many Hawaiian shirts.
While Yankovic’s music is a key part of his career, the film doesn’t seem to celebrate it enough. Only six Yankovic songs made an appearance, which of course were his most popular hits like, “Amish Paradise” and “Eat It.” Yankovic obviously has more songs worth celebrating and including them would have allowed for more of his own work to be commemorated by viewers. He would, in a sense, be giving himself the classic “Yankovic Bump” by doing so.
The film is jam-packed with cameo after cameo in almost every scene, so many in fact that it’s easy to lose track of them all. From Jack Black to Lin Manuel Miranda to Josh Groban to Weird Al himself, the continuity of familiar faces brings even more pleasurable irony to the film.
“Abbott Elementary” star Quinta Brunson makes a compelling impression of Oprah Winfrey, while Conan O’Brien almost unrecognizably plays artist Andy Warhol. With all these familiar faces making an appearance, you can tell that the film isn’t meant to be serious but instead a fun, celebration of comedy.
If you’re looking for the actual life biopic of the Grammy award winning musician, you are going to be highly disappointed. But if you are simply a true, longtime fan of Yankovic, viewers will be pleased with the quirky, comedic nature he makes of himself in his very own biopic. As tiring as many biopics can be, “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story” is a refreshing, well-needed parody of them, full of familiar faces and the most quirkiest, "true" life events of an iconic parody musician.