Why on earth would an artist who has banked his career on convincing his many fans he’s a madcap, all-jokes funny man, now agree to let Hollywood tell his heartbreaking, reflective true story? Why would a clown now decide to go make-up free?
While Weird : The Al Yankovic story might kick off like any other biopic, with tales of the artist’s younger years, coupled with a concerned father and struggle to follow a dream moments, director and co-writer Eric Appel is sure to just as quick switch the flick -likely at the request of the ‘Eat It’ and ‘Fat’ singer, who wanted the film to resemble something that could play alongside [Al’s film] UHF or any of the musician’s music videos – fabricating a good three-quarters of this tale for yuk’s sake.
With faux tales of a saucy relationship with pop singer Madonna (in reality, the two only briefly met in passing), a cheeky mostly-not-accurate subplot about rocker’s clamoring to get their hit songs covered by Yankovic, and even, a BS bit about his battle with the bottle, it’s as ridiculously put together as it plays.
The subplots are so outlandish here it’s obvious has made a Yankovic spoof biopic — not unfitting, really, considering parodies are what’s kept the musician and entertainer atop of the touring and single charts all these years.
As unique as it all is, some bits run too long, like an exhausted SNL sketch spoofing the Weird Al’s life, while others can’t trump the similarly-structured Walk Hard : The Dewey Cox story.
Despite a great going-all-in performance by Daniel Radcliffe in the lead, fabulously backed by Evan Rachel Wood’s Madonna, and Toby Huss and Julianne Nicholson as the artist’s parents, some great cameo players, and an infectious albeit wearing ambiance, Appel’s film will spur many to consider just how good a straight-up warts-and-all true account of Yankovic’s life might’ve been.