You cannot accuse “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story” of taking itself too seriously.
You can accuse it of things — such as wearing out its welcome roughly somewhere in the middle, after a largely entertaining start — but not of lacking a sense of humor.
Available on the Roku Channel after its debut in September at the Toronto International Film Festival, “Weird” is, at least according to its production notes, “the unexaggerated true story about the greatest musician and sex symbol of our time.”
If you’re not in on the joke as early as when a young Al’s father, Nick (Toby Huss) nearly beats to death a door-to-door salesman (Thomas Lennon) who introduces the boy to the accordion, you will be soon after — and long before pop-music icon Madonna (Evan Rachel Wood) becomes smitten with a now successful “Weird Al.”
It is fitting that a biopic about the king of the song parody would itself be a parody of a biopic, one that plays at times like a jukebox musical and at one stretch like a satire of a “Rambo”-like action movie (for some reason).
After a couple of time jumps, Al is portrayed for the majority of the movie by “Harry Potter” star Daniel Radcliffe, plenty convincing in Yankovic’s familiar hair and glasses. Finally away from his oppressive pops, Al is encouraged by roommates Jim (Jack Lancaster), Steve (Spencer Treat Clark) and Bermuda (Tommy O’Brien) to pursue his dream of stardom through parody songs.
When Al performs at a small music venue he deems a “whiskey-and-heroin place” after sizing up the crowd and has trouble winning them over early on with “I Love Rocky Road” — his pro-ice cream parody of Joan Jett & The Blackhearts anthem “I Love Rock”n’ Roll” — his buddies man instruments and help him turn the tide. (Al says he had no idea they could play, and one tells him it didn’t seem pertinent until this moment.)
Al finds a less-receptive audience with two record company executive brothers in one of the movie’s most enjoyable scenes. Neither has any interest in giving Al a record deal, but as Ben Scotti (Will Forte) lays into him for being incredibly untalented and even bad-looking, Tony Scotti — played by Jankovic himself — winces noticeably.
Along with solid work from Radcliffe, whose non-“Potter” credits include 2016’s “Swiss Army Man,” “Weird” gets a big lift from Wood (“Westworld,” “Across the Universe”) as Madonna. Hoping for the “Yankovic bump” — an increase in record sales for an artist when Al skewers a song of theirs — she arrives at his front door. A passionate romance quickly blossoms.
This is about as believable as the idea of Yankovic having a lengthy residency at New York’s famed Madison Square Garden, as he does in the movie, but it’s plenty of fun.
We can assume only that this movie will delight hardcore “Weird Al” fans and, hey, great for them.
However, even if Yankovic’s music may once have been a part of your life, sitting through all of “Weird” is a bit of a task.
‘WEIRD: THE AL YANKOVIC STORY’
2 stars (out of 4)
No MPAA rating (contains a fair amount of adult content)
Running time: 1:48
How to watch: On Roku Channel (available on Roku streaming devices and Roku TV)