UHF Review

Since it's debut in the late '80s, UHF has since managed to obtain some sort of cult status; mostly among potheads and manic, munchie-hungry, college kids. Creator "Weird Al" Yankovic would blame its dismal box-office performance and subsequent disappearance on a release date which pitted it in a hopeless battle against some of the most popular films of all time. But judging from the content of the film, that's just an excuse. Thankfully, Weird Al has stayed away from movies ever since.

UHF stars parody song-writer Yankovic as a hapless dreamer who assumes control of a failing UHF television station. This serves as the perfect format for Weird Al to do what Weird Al does best: parody! Honestly, UHF is really just a platform for Weird Al to engage in his usual assortment of skits, song parodies, and wacky hijinks. When focusing on that, UHF is dumb, but quite honestly funny. Michael Richards (the future Kramer) even jumps in as Weird Al's crazy janitor, who eventually earns his way on air as a popular children's show host.

Sadly, the film is not nearly so strong when attempting to explore the thinly disguised skit-wrapper it fronts as a plot. You'll find the annoyingly nasal Fran Drescher here, as Weird Al's station receptionist, joining in his fight to save the failing UHF broadcast studios from demolition. Actually, in retrospect, her struggle not to sound like the nasally Fran we all know today is almost entertainment unto itself. But Fran Drescher's attempts to sound normal can't breathe life into the boring, cliché, little guy makes good story UHF tries so desperately to shove down our throats.

Weird Al of course, cannot act. He's a clown by nature and genius when set free. Incapable of making anything seem personal or involved, he's more like a bad clone of Pee Wee Herman in this film than anything else. I suspect he knows and doesn't care. While he's still best at writing funny, semi-witty song parodies; when not concerned with plot or attempting to be occasionally serious, Al delivers comedy true to form.

The sets are cheesy, as is Weird Al's hair. Simplicity is the key and parody the game of the day. If you can ignore the crap shoved in around Weird Al's skits, then you might just enjoy the time you spend watching UHF. Watch for it on late night TV. It's more fun if you aren't paying for it.


Facts and Figures

Run time: 97 mins

In Theaters: Friday 21st July 1989

Budget: $5M

Distributed by: Orion Pictures Corporation

Production compaines: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Orion Pictures


Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 63%
Fresh: 15 Rotten: 9

IMDB: 7.0 / 10

Cast & Crew


Producer: John W. Hyde,

Starring: "Weird Al" Yankovic as George Newman, as Teri, as Stanley Spadowski, as Bob, as Pamela Finklestein, as R.J. Fletcher, as Philo, as Noodles MacIntosh