"UHF" is a remarkably silly 1989 effort from Weird Al Yankovic. It's one of a certain kind of slapstick effort that viewers will either laugh and be into or will regard as remarkably dumb. It's one of those films that is predestined to be a cult movie even before it hit theaters. Parody songwriter Al Yankovic plays George Newman, a dreamer who rambles from job-to-job looking for a place where he can let his wild imagination run free. After his uncle wins a run-down TV station in a game of cards, he decides to let George and friend Bob (David Bowe) run it.
The station's on the bottom of the television ladder, but George and his friends decide to ditch the reruns that the network constantly airs in favor of some new (and very strange) programming, such as "Wheel Of Fish". Of course, once George's station starts climbing the charts, the head of the popular network across town decides to do whatever he can to take George's station off-air for good.
The film is certainly one of those comedies where the filmmakers have attempted to thrown everything great and small at the audience, hoping it will go over well. Although I have to say that I felt the film rarely reached the heights of the "Indiana Jones" parody opening, most of the humor is still sharply funny and clever. Weird Al certainly isn't the finest comedic actor, but he plays the character loosely, as if he's aware of his limitations - more often than not, it works well. Supporting performances by "Seinfeld"'s Michael Richards and Victoria Jackson ("Saturday Night Live") also add to the fun. "UHF" easily could have been irritating and stupid, but it's a film that proudly embraces its silliness and succeeds in getting laughs more often than not.
VIDEO: "UHF" is presented in both 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and pan & scan by MGM. Each edition has its own side of the dual-sided, single-layered DVD. The anamorphic widescreen presentation offers image quality that looks good at times and average at others. Certainly, the extremely low-budget nature of the film also plays a factor in the film's appearance. Sharpness and detail are generally very good, although there are a few moments here and there where the picture looks slightly softer in comparison.
The few problems that are visible are minor. Some slight edge enhancement is occasionally noticed, while a few specks are seen on the print used. No pixelation was seen, nor were any other faults, though. The film's color palette is fairly ordinary, but occasionally some brighter, more vibrant colors show through nicely. Although not really remarkable, this is probably the best that UHF has looked outside the theater.
SOUND: "UHF" is presented in Dolby 2.0. The soundtrack is also fairly limited due to the budget. That's really of little matter though, as the soundtrack simply needs to clearly present the dialogue and cartoonish sound effects and offers both elements clearly.
MENUS: MGM has crafted hilarious main and sub-menus that have Weird Al walking around and interacting with the menu options. Selecting "Special Features" from the main menu has Al reaching through the "TV" background and changing the channel.
Commentary: This is a commentary from actor Weird Al and director Jay Levey, along with occasional comments from other actors in the film. The commentary starts off hilariously, with Al singing over the Orion credits: "Orion...Orion...is now bankrupt." The fun continues throughout the remainder of the commentary, as Al has a good sense of humor about what works and what doesn't. The two also put in a fine amount of production information about the movie in-between all of the jokes and riffing on budget limitations and what's happening in the current scene. A great commentary that will delight fans of the picture.
Also: Short behind-the-scenes featurette, music video for "UHF", production stills gallery, behind-the-scenes featurette, teaser, trailer and posters gallery. An additional section has Weird Al providing introductions for deleted scenes - that section runs about 19 minutes. Strangely, some of the features are included on one side and not the other (the widescreen edition side includes everything but the deleted scenes, which are included on the pan & scan side. The pan & scan side only contains the deleted scenes and the commentary)
Final Thoughts: Admittedly, the wackiness of "UHF" isn't going to be everyone's comedic cup-of-tea, but for fans of the film (or people who enjoy the style of "Naked Gun"/Zucker Brothers style of humor), MGM has produced a terrific DVD edition, offering a pretty decent presentation and lots of enjoyable and amusing supplements. At $14.95 (or less at most stores), it's certainly priced right, too.
The Film ***