Though its title suggests a rather traditional biopic format, Weird: The Al Yankovic Story is anything but typical in a subgenre that includes recent hits like Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman. Inspired by a Funny or Die parody trailer and co-written by "Weird Al" himself, the film is instead a heavily fictionalized account of the rise and rollicking career of everyone's favorite funny song guy, and revels in its ability to completely make up huge chunks of Yankovic's life.
"It's flipped," director Eric Appel told Entertainment Weekly of the film. "It's 98 percent fiction and two percent fact."
Daniel Radcliffe stars in the new film, which streams free on The Roku Channel beginning today, as Yankovic, an odd young man with a love for polka and a dream to "make up new words to a song that already exists." Many of the standard "rise and fall" beats of a biopic follow, as the film puts Yankovic trough dating Madonna (Evan Rachel Wood), hard drinking, and raucous concerts.
Of course, Yankovic didn't actually date Madonna, or stub out cigarettes on record executives hands, or run through a crowd of reporters after concerts in which he swilled whiskey. The joy of Weird, for both Appel and for Yankovic, was to invent all of these things as part of a satirical look at musical biopics, and Weird Al's career was the perfect vehicle to get strange with it.
It is, in keeping with Yankovic's career, a parody of the biopic form co-created by the man who made parody music into his life's work. That means Weird is delightfully...well, weird, but according to Appel, it was almost even weirder.
"I think at one point I may have pitched time travel or meeting multiple versions of Al from different universes," Appel said. "That was a little too far. Maybe we'll do a sequel. We can use some of those crazier ideas."
Because Weird traffics so heavily in poking fun at the accepted beats of biopics, a time travel subplot or a vision of alternate Als might have felt a bit out of place. Still, if enough people watch the film, maybe there's a chance at Crisis on Infinite Weird Als somewhere down the line.
If you're looking for some action time travel comedy, check out SYFY's Resident Alien, with both seasons streaming now on Peacock.