Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, 2016.
Directed by Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone.
Starring Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone, Sarah Silverman, Maya Rudolph, Joan Cusack, Tim Meadows, Imogen Poots, James Buckley and Chris Redd.
When it becomes clear that his solo album is a failure, a former boy band member does everything in his power to maintain his celebrity status.
Doing to the pop industry what Zoolander did to fashion, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is a hilarious satire about our celebrity obsessed culture and popular music. Samberg plays Conner4Real, a Bieber-esque man child who finds his world falling apart after his second album tanks. Once part of a fun boy band, Connor went solo and has surrounded himself with wannabes and yes men, all of which leads to a proposal where wolves attack, a hideously bad second album, fan bashing and general stupidity.
Written by SNL alum The Lonely Island (Samberg, Schaffer, Taccone), Popstar won’t win any awards for its by the numbers plot. It will however, stick in your mind as one of the funniest films of the year so far. The outrageous things that Conner partakes in, in his bid for success perfectly highlights the bizarre celebrity obsessed, Instagram loving culture we live in. With Conner you get to see everything, from getting his crack waxed to his post-masturbation face as he lies in bed. He even remembers to invite the paparazzi out when he proposes to his girlfriend after an on stage prank goes awry. Its pitch perfect in its analysis of figures like Justin Bieber who belittle their fans, demand more and more outrageous things and genuinely think they’re untouchable Gods. Known for their great comedy tracks, The Lonely Island put together some amazing ones for Conner to sing including classics like Fuck Bin Laden, Equal Rights, Ibitha and Mona Lisa. Each are so politically incorrect and absurd that you can’t help but enjoy them and revel in the stupidity.
There are cameos galore throughout Popstar and most of them work. Seal is hilarious as is Justin Timberlake as chef/wannabe singer Tyrus Quash. Maria Carey also allows herself to be taken the piss out of which was surprisingly refreshing. A few are shoe horned in i.e. Simon Cowell makes an obligatory cameo as is Ringo Starr, 50 Cent etc. Nevertheless the cameos come thick and fast and they do work within this format.
The supporting cast around Conner are great. The two other members of The Lonely Island play Owen (Taccone) and Lawrence (Schaffer). Owen is a former member of the boyband and now dresses up as a robot and presses play on an IPod. Lawrence is bitter about the break up and runs a farm in the middle of nowhere. Each of the key characters gets some great lines, especially Lawrence with his dead pan delivery. Sarah Silverman as PR Rep Paula is on top form as always as is Conner’s off the wall Manager Harry. James Buckley of Inbetweeners fame unfortunately fades into the background and is only recognisable because of his Jared Leto style hair.
Popstar is a fantastic take on all of the painfully awful popstar documentaries that have come out over the last few years. From the over the top behaviour to the insane demands and the soul crushing nature of the culture we live in, it’s a brilliantly fun film with annoyingly catchy tunes.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★