Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

Year: 2016
Director: Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone
Starring: Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, Akiva Schaffer, Sarah Silverman
Written by Gillian Finklea

Please note that this review is written by someone who still listens to The Lonely Island (the parody music group comprising of Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer) unironically. There’s just something about three grown men rapping about ridiculous things that tickles me. So while my review is mostly positive, I understand that most people may not want to give a full two hours to three guys who frequently sing about their genetalia and what they do on Sundays. But, if you have smiled or smirked at one of their many song parodies, you should definitely see this movie.

‘Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping’ is a parody on the many documentaries that pop musicians utilise to basically market themselves. One thing this film does show, is that The Lonely Island boys have clearly been keeping close tabs on the crazed antics of pop stars, and they really relish the chance to make fun of them.

Samberg plays Connor 4 Real, a former member of The Style Boyz – along with Owen (Taccone), and Lawrence (Schaffer). The band breaks up after Connor decides to go solo, with Owen staying on as his DJ, and Lawrence leaving to become a farmer. The mockumentary focuses on Connor’s second upcoming solo album and its inevitable failure. With his first album bearing the auspicious title of Thriller, Also and with songs like “Finest Girl (Bin Laden Song)”, there seems to be no end to Connor’s hilarious incompetence. But when Connor’s album doesn’t do well he begins to act like a true diva, hurting those around him including his manager Harry (Tim Meadows) and Seal (making one of MANY cameos from the music industry.) The movie is filmed in a documentary style, bringing with it a comparison to another movie about a musical disaster, ‘This Is Spinal Tap’. However, ‘Popstar’ seems to forget that it’s supposed to be a straight documentary, as it falls into a narrative form towards the end.

Despite previous successes directing ‘McGruber’ and ‘Hot Rod’, Taccone and Schaffer have created a movie that plays out like a series of sketches, which to be fair, is their forte. The movie is shaggy, simple, and doesn’t have a surprising ending, much like the many musical documentaries it sets out to mock. Like The Style Boyz, the members of The Lonely Island have known each other since they were preteens and the few times all three are on screen, it is truly a joy to watch them interact. This movie is filled with an impressive number of musical cameos and if you like famous people making fun of themselves in a knowing way, you will enjoy a good portion of this movie. Seriously, Ringo Starr gets one of the biggest laughs.

Maybe ‘Popstar’ isn’t meant for the big screen, and is best watched on a computer with friends when you need to laugh at something silly and sweet. But in a summer of sequels and superheroes, watching three goofballs sing diss tracks about the Mona Lisa isn’t a bad way to spend an afternoon.

Gillian’s rating: 7.5 out of 10
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