Weird: The Al Yankovic Story has been praised in early reviews following its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Directed by Eric Appel in his directorial debut, the biographical parody film stars Daniel Radcliffe as ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic and loosely follows the musician’s life and career, while serving as a satire of the biopic genre.
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Alongside Radcliffe, the film stars Evan Rachel Wood as Madonna, Rainn Wilson as Dr. Demento, and Toby Huss and Julianne Nicholson as Al’s parents. There’re also depictions of Oprah Winfrey (played by Quinta Brunson), Pablo Escobar (Arturo Castro) and Andy Warhol (Conan O’Brien).
In a positive review on Collider, Radcliffe’s performance is praised for its clear affection to the musician. “The greatest joy of Weird: The Al Yankovic Story is watching Radcliffe as ‘Weird Al’, complete with oversized glasses, curly hair, and Hawaiian shirts,” the review reads.
“Radcliffe is completely game for… whatever the hell this is, but also shows a true love for Yankovic’s work and career, and a true appreciation for this comedic legend.”
Verge is positive on the absurd elements, writing: “What makes it work is how committed the film is to the bit. It follows the musical biopic formula exactly, but the degree of absurdity just keeps expanding to the point that it doesn’t feel all that out of place when Yankovic eventually becomes an incredibly adept assassin running through the jungles of Colombia.
“Radcliffe, in particular, really sells it, playing the in-reality goofy Yankovic with a level of seriousness that’s an ideal fit for a music biopic.”
IndieWire is more critical of the film’s second half, which drifts into more conventional territory. “The second half of Weird feels disappointingly programmatic, ironically just like the second half of many biopics,” the review reads. “Part of the problem lies with the film leaning into set pieces instead of gags and throwaway jokes, where the humour naturally thrives.”
A 9/10 review on IGN reads: “With Daniel Radcliffe in the role he was born to play, Weird tells the definitive and totally true story of one of our greatest musicians and comedians while making you wish all music biopics were this funny or bizarre.”
Weird: The Al Yankovic Story is scheduled to be released on The Roku Channel on November 4.