WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Two lovable idiots take over a low-rent UHF channel, which paves the way for typical Yankovic lunacy and several amusing movie/TV/song parodies.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
If youíre a fan of Saturday Night Live sketch comedy or movies like The Groove Tube and Amazon Women on the Moon, youíll have a good time with UHF. Needless to say, fans of Weird Al Yankovicís song parodies will obviously find much to like as well. Those looking for a well-acted, professionally directed film may not make it through the first fifteen minutes. Itís clear that UHF was meant to be a framework on which to hang a series of Yankovicís parody bits, and several of them are quite funny. Wheel of Fish has a few giggles, Conan the Librarian looks like a great show, and Raulís Wild Kingdom is a piece of inspired lunacy. Unfortunately, the storyline in between the sketches (the new owners become an overnight sensation and must fend off the attacks from a local network CEO) pales in comparison to the spoof material.
Though Yankovic is clearly an atrocious actor, his ineptitude only adds to the movieís corny charm. Luckily for Al, he has a solid stable of funny people working alongside him. Longtime character actor Kevin McCarthy makes for one of those ridiculously over-the-top comic villains, and has lots of fun doing it. Victoria Jackson, Fran Drescher and Billy Barty add a little flavor in small roles, but the real standout here is Michael Richards (Yes, thatís Kramer from Seinfeld.) Playing the worldís stupidest janitor, Richards is nothing short of hilarious. UHF is amateurish, low-budget and shoddy in many ways. But none of that matters Ďcuz the flick is funny. If you donít dig Yankovicís schtick, you should of course stay away. Everyone else should give it a shot.
Much like they did last year with their DVD release of KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE, MGM/UA Home Video proves that they respect the fans of wacky cult flicks. You simply wonít believe all of the goodies on a disc that can be had for less than ten bucks! First up is a truly fantastic full-length audio commentary with Al Yankovic and director Jay Levey. Al is a virtual encyclopedia of UHF-based knowledge, right down to the smallest bit parts and addresses of the onscreen businesses. Levey floats around the background, allowing Al to rant and rave and rant about what went on behind-the-scenes (A few surprise guests pop in during the commentary, and thatís always fun.) I know that Alís hardly a master filmmaker, but it would be nice to see other commentary tracks with this kind of enthusiasm.
Thereís also a brief behind-the-scenes featurette thatís a nice inclusion if not all that fascinating. Another highlight is a 20-minute presentation of deleted scenes, complete with intermittent introductions by Al himself. Most of these scenes were deleted for good reason, and Al has no problem ridiculing his own efforts. Youíll also find the music video of Alís title tune, a collection of theatrical trailers, a photo gallery, a series of poster art in the promotional materials and a handful of wacky easter eggs. Like I said, MGM has packed this DVD to the gills with a lot of good gravy.
A hearty pat on the back to MGM Home Video for treating ďcult flickĒ fans with the respect they deserve. Dismiss UHF as simplistic silliness if you like (I do, and I really like it!), but this is one of the best DVDs of the year.