Cinematic Releases: Popstar - Never Stop Never Stopping - Reviewed

Liam drops an epic review on this week's release of Popstar. 

The mockumentary is a hard genre to nail. Done right, the results can be side splittingly hilarious like This is Spinal Tap or What We Do In The Shadows.  Done wrong, they can feel hackneyed or inauthentic. The key to making this type of film work is authenticity and commitment to the insanity.  Thankfully for us, the comedy group The Lonely Island has done a terrific job of satirizing the insanity of modern celebrity culture with their great film Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping.

Inspired by elements of the Justin Bieber documentary Never Say Never, Popstar is the story of an arrogant egotistical popstar named Conner 4 Real, played brilliantly Andy Samberg. Once a member of a hip-hop trio named Style Boyz, childhood friends Owen, played by Jorma Taccone, and Lawrence, played by  Akiva Schaffer, have faded into the background when frontman Conner left the band to launch a successful solo career. Conner decides to film a documentary about his life while he's still on top. When his second album flops, the camera is there to capture his world come crashing down in a film that manages to combine elements of satire, surrealism, and great music to make a hilarious film about the insanity of modern music personalities.

Dig my robe. And my bitches. 

Andy Samberg does a great job of playing Conner, using the character as a jump off point to tell this absurd story. Samberg has always done a great job of playing characters that are too stupid for their own good and Conner is no exception to this rule.  Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer do a great job of bouncing off of the Conner character while still being funny enough to carry their own scenes. Schaffer does a great deadpan as Lawrence. You can sense that Lawrence is still bitter about the break up of the Style Boyz and he plays every scene in a deadpan that is both discomforting and yet appropriate for the character.  Sarah Silverman and Tim Meadows have great scenes as Conner’s management and to the fun of the movie.  It’s nice to see Tim Meadows in something that isn’t an Adam Sandler movie.  Even the cameos in this film are great.  The cameos while plentiful add to the film as a whole. There are so many that it will take multiple viewings to find all of them. Unlike Zoolander 2 and many recent comedies, the cameos are used to enhance the humor as opposed to being the joke themselves.

Yeah!!! You brought me crack and pizza!!!
I'll have to make sure to spit on more fans tomorrow. 
Unlike many comedies, you can tell that the Lonely Island really wanted to make this movie. It really shows. Many of the jokes in this film are very inspired and will take audiences to places they didn’t expect to go to in a comedy movie about a fading star. Every frame of this film is well shot and looks cinematically appropriate for a documentary.  Every song for this film works not only in a comedic sense but also as actual songs.  I left the movie wanting to have the soundtrack to listen to again and again. Any song that features the line Mona Lisa, the original basic bitch, is a song worth listening to.  The Lonely Island not only has managed to mock the music that is plaguing our culture but has also found a way to make great music while doing it.

As a whole, I would recommend Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. It is a hilarious movie that I can imagine will have a lot of rewatchability.  The soundtrack alone is worth checking out. There are multiple songs in this film that made me laugh so hard I cried, including one about the finest girl in the world and a dangerous terrorist. My side hurts from laughing so hard.. The audience I saw this with and me loved every gloriously stupid minute of it and I hope that you do too.

PS. Stay during the credits. 

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-Liam S. O'Connor