Movie Review 2007 #104: UHF

Urged to watch this by a friend, this comedy of a low-rent TV station in the days before cable became popular stars “Weird Al” Yankovic, and in a pre-Seinfeld role, Michael “Kramer” Richards.


Yankovic’s George Newman is a Walter Smitty like character whose imagination runs away from him, to disastrous results.For instance, the movie begins with a reimagining of the opening sequence to Raiders of the Lost Ark, with Newman as the hero.
Newman finds his niche when his uncle puts him in charge of a low-rent, ailing UHF station. At first, he flops at working at this as he has every other job. However, he finds a talent in Richards’ Stanley Spadowski, a janitor by heart, but also a wonderful host for the children’s show. And so, building on this success, Newman’s station grows in popularity, much to the chagrin of the major network affiliate…
UHF’s strong plot is not the plot, however. Its really a clothesline for a series of sight gags, jokes, setups and comedic bits. More of these work than don’t, and the movie has the sense and timing to know when to move to the next one. The sight gags, though, make this movie, and they often are on the margins of the screen. In this, the movie reminded me strongly of Airplane! and The Naked Gun movies rather than more modern comedies in the same vein.
This anarchic approach to movie comedy is, I suspect, very much a matter of taste. I happened to like it, laugh out funny. Your mileage may very much vary.