Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

"For those of you just joining us, today we’re teaching poodles how to fly."

There’s not much more I can say about the movie UHF than that. You either ‘get’ “Weird Al” Yankovic’s brand of humour, or you don’t. And even if you do, it’s still pretty hit and miss. Fortunately in this tale of downtrodden community TV station Channel 62, Yankovic hits more times than he misses, which is no mean feat given that the film is a collection of now 15-year-old parodies.

Gandhi II (he’s rough), Conan The Librarian (he’s rough as well), and Rambo (hang on – isn't this the same joke?)

The formulaic plot works extremely well, and one wonders just how much better a film like Amazon Women On The Moon might have been with even a simple story like this driving the sketches.

It’s always disappointed me that there isn’t more of this sort of wildly impossible quickfire comedy around. There’s so little of it that we don’t even have a word to describe it, although some people box it as “Monty Python humour”.

Indeed, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, The Goodies, The Monkees, Father Ted, Mr Don And Mr George, Police Squad! (In Color), Top Secret and the Airplane! movies. That’s all I can think of. Modern attempts, including the Naked Gun movies, tend to be thinner on jokes, and get slowed down by enforced emotional content.

In UHF, Yankovic doesn’t play anything straight except in the interest of a gag, and consequently there’s little to remember afterwards other than the stuff you laughed at.

Who else could come up with singing the lyrics of The Beverly Hillbillies to the Dire Straits track Money For Nothing?

The other thing I like about this film, and Weird Al’s material in general, is he’s usually quite clean. No easy-to-write smut or sex scenes to cut the huge potential kid-audience here.

"I'm thinkin' of something orange. Something orange. Give up? It's an orange.

Okay, now I'm thinkin' of something blue. Something bluuuuuue."

Disappointing then, to discover whilst writing this review that upon its original cinema release in 1989, the movie in fact bombed.

I think I’ll leave the last word on that to Weird Al himself, quoted from a MuchMusic interview:

"I knew when I was writing (the script) that it wasn't a critic's kind of movie. It's a silly, goofy, fun, harmless, brainless comedy, and the people who had accepted it as such had a great time with it."


Channel 62 website:

Review of soundtrack album:

Damaged VHS cover:

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