Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Review

The crumbliest apple crumble 

Andy Samberg and The Lonely Island (Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer) star as the ‘Style Boyz’, friends from childhood who formed a wildly popular band. But when Conner (Samberg) goes solo as ‘Conner 4 Real’ he upsets Lawrence (Schaffer), who becomes a recluse, while Owen (Taccone) has to settle for being Conner’s DJ.

The mockumentary, directed by Taccone and Schaffer and written by the trio follows Conner at the height of his powers; riding the wave of his successful first album as he prepares for his second album and tour. Predictably, but no less hilariously, Conner spirals out of control as his tour and album are unsuccessful which is not helped by terrible marketing and PR decisions.

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The film follows the cliches of a noughties pop career. The initial rise to prominence, the indulgence in ridiculous new fads to stay relevant, the pretending to care about political issues before the media and fan backlash and the inevitable comeback. But at no point does this film feel like it’s retreading old ground. It tells the story in a hilarious and, at points, an emotionally moving way. It plays off the cliches, rather than being hindered by them.

The film is a parody of modern pop music. Conner is ridiculous, but not so ridiculous that he’s not beyond the realms of possibility. And that’s why this works. It might actually happen. And that’s ridiculous. Simon Cowell appears as a parody of himself (I think, I dunno he might actually see monetary value in Conner 4 Real) and the various other cameos are also very self aware parodies. I won’t ruin them here.

Actually, scratch that. This film is a parody of everything. It’s a parody of the ridiculousness of modern society. It pushes that to the limits. And it’s fantastic.

The music is genius. As with many parody musicals, it plays off used pop tropes but the lyrics are what sets it part from the generic pop tripe we have to endure these days. ‘I’m So Humble’ is a particular favourite. The writing, not just lyrically, is overall excellent. The chemistry between the front trio is clear to see and that makes their relationships so much more believable. Samberg plays the spoilt celebrity who’s always had his own way splendidly, but he’s not unlikable, he’s just naive and ignorant and this is evident in his ‘Equal Rights’ song where he is trying to support gay marriage but also painfully trying to make it obviously clear that he is not gay himself.

While pushing ridiculous to its limits, Popstar never goes too far. It walks the tight rope perfectly with some over-the-top slapstick moments to much more subtle references and ‘in-jokes’. It really is a blast.

★★★★☆ 

EXCELLENT. The Lonely Island guys deliver an excellent, hilarious spoof of the ridiculousness of modern day celebrity culture. 


 

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One thought on “Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Review

  1. Pingback: Rob’s Top 10 Films of 2016 | Reel Film

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