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Like a lot of novelty music buffs, I saw the trailer for this movie online and assumed no studio had ever dared make it. But last month I was tickled pink to find a full-length DVD of it with in a cut-out bin by the register at a truck stop in Binghampton, New York-- and for only $13.98! The case had a mean-looking notch extending all the way into the outer edge of the disc, with ground-up plastic powder stuck inside the case. The movie itself played OK with a few minor glitches. However, the bonus footage (stills from the movie with fascinating trivia about novelty music from colonial times to present) would not play through no matter how hard I blew in the DVD player.
My verdict? The movie probably wouldn't have gotten so much "buzz" if reviewer-bees had to fly through all 89 minutes of it. Alas, the best parts of the movie were all in the trailer. I had imagined that at long-last the ribaldrous story of modern novelty music would be told to the masses-- the trailblazing Ray Stevens, colorful Bobby Jimmy & The Crickets, Jive Bunny-- but no, the movie seemed like Yankovic's self-indulgent paean to his own recovery from alcoholism. But for the appearance of Dr. Demento as a character (played effeminately a la Hoffman's Truman Capote by Patton Oswalt) one would hardly have known one was seeing a film about novelty music at all!
Gary Cole and Mary Steenburgergen (sp?) were well-cast as the befuddled Mr. and Mrs.Yankovic. Olivia Wilde's Madonna was excellent, even if the overdubbing during her musical numbers left much to be desired. Aaron Paul never quite captured his character's manic intensity, hiding behind the curly black locks of a cheap wig for dramatic emphasis rather than allowing his acting prowess to emerge brilliantly as it did so long ago in K-Pax.
The overall pacing was too "MTV," too flashy. The movie was best when it time to explore a scene fully. Even though the A.A. meeting scene ran for over 15 minutes, I still would have loved more thoroughness. There were a lot of other people in the back of the auditorium who had not yet stood up and said their first names and that they were alcoholics. I was left wondering who they were. I guess I'll never know.
Also, perhaps it's my age showing, but did the director really have to use so much CGI? I found it disorienting. The visualization of Weird Al's thought-processes seemed particularly unnecessary (we know: "Rock N'Roll" sounds like "Rocky Road" ice cream; I grasped it the first time you showed me), as did the elaborate twisting-tunnel roller-coaster-ride CGI effects of his inner organs while having intercourse with Madonna. It's not appropriate for children.
While I would not recommend this film, I do think that if you can find a copy it's probably worth selling online.
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