Director: Jay Levey
Screenwriter: Jay Levey, “Weird Al” Yankovic
Cast: “Weird Al” Yankovic, Kevin McCarthy, Michael Richards, David Bowe, Victoria Jackson
Rated PG-13 | 97 Minutes
Release Date: November 11, 2014
In UHF, “Weird Al” Yankovic stars as George Newman, a daydreamer with a hyperactive imagination who becomes the manager of Channel 62, A UHF (Ultra High Frequency) TV station on the verge of bankruptcy.
Before long, George’s eclectic programming – including shows like Stanley Spadowski’s Clubhouse, Wheel of Fish, and Raul’s Wild Kingdom – is saving the station. Channel 62’s sudden increase in popularity gains the attention of the nefarious R.J. Fletcher (Kevin McCarthy, Invasion of the Body Snatchers), owner of the rival VHF network station, Channel 8.
Furious that George’s rinky-dink UHF station is beating him in ratings, Fletcher sets out to buy Channel 62 and permanently cancel George’s programming. Absurdity ensues as George and his friends attempt to raise money to out-buy Fletcher through a telethon.
UHF features an impressive cast, co-starring Michael Richards (Seinfeld), Fran Drescher (The Nanny), Billy Barty (Legend), Gedde Watanabe (Sixteen Candles), Victoria Jackson (Saturday Night Live), and more.
UHF is best remembered for its comic homages to popular shows and films, through either George’s imagination or shows programmed for Channel 62. One dream sequence includes Yankovic’s music video for “Money for Nothing/Beverly Hillbillies,” in both the style of the Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing.” There are also fake commercials for Plots ‘R Us Mortuary Service, Gandhi II, Conan the Librarian, and Spatula City that are shown throughout the film. Other memorable sequences include Yankovic’s lovingly rendered parodies of Raiders of the Lost Ark and Rambo.
UHF has its moments – most of them are listed above – but Yankovic’s comedic stylings are best-suited for short-form music videos. At 97 minutes, UHF is more misses than hits. It’s everything but the kitchen sink, and while there are some genuine laughs scattered throughout, Jay Levey‘s film is nothing more than a novelty – a parody of a feature-length movie, with wacky shenanigans and Yankovic’s lovable charm holding it together.
Distributed by Shout! Factory, the 25th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray features a solid 1.85:1, 1080p, AVC-encoded video presentation with a sufficiently strong LPCM 2.0 soundtrack. For a 25th Anniversary Edition, this release is pretty light on new content. The only new bonus feature worth highlighting is a 51-minute panel from this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, which featured an interview by comic Jonah Ray, and a Q&A session with Yankovic and the audience.
Still, it’s hard to hate on UHF. It’s dumb guy humor, but it’s earnest dumb guy humor. Yankovic remains a beloved icon of the ’80s, and UHF is no doubt part of his legacy as being a cult curiosity. The UHF 25th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray is available at Amazon.
* Retrospective Panel From San Diego Comic-Con 2014
* Audio Commentary
* Deleted Scenes
* Behind-the-Scenes Footage
* Music Video
* Production Stills
* Promotional Materials
* Reversible Cover Art
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