Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping review
The best movies about show business are usually done as mockumentaries. Somehow, the style feels more real when ironically, nothing about the characters are real themselves. A lot of it comes down that the people making the mockumentary probably understand the most about troubles and tribulation on what goes on behind the curtain. They know that the biggest stars are the craziest people around. They’ve figured out how unforgiving that show business world can be. They especially know how hard life can still be with the fame (or without it). Though there are plenty of regular feature films that have parodied the show business world fine enough, the mockumentary style somehow makes it look more unsentimental.
At the top of my head, the best movies about entertainment are A Hard Days Night This is Spinal Tap, and the lesser-known Waiting for Guffman. All three portray the world of show biz with some really funny characters (or in the case of the Beatles, exaggerated versions of themselves), and a relatable story on the hardship of trying to make it and how they manage to continue onward. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is a modern day look at the music industry.
The mockumentary is a look at the fictional band Style Boys and their frontman Conner Friel (played by Andy Samberg). Conner is a musical prodigy and has always counted on his friends to support his dreams. After years of working together and making a mark on the charts, they break up when one of the members Lawrence (played by Akiva Schaffer) is not given credit for a song nor is even thanked when Conner wins an award for it. His other friend Owen (played by Jorma Taccone) stays on and moves into the background as Conner’s DJ, while Conner reinvents himself as a Justin Bieber-like singer called “Conner4Real”.
His first album Thriller, Also is a hit and advances him to massive stardom. His ego (and low intelligence) pushes him to make reckless choices and surrounds himself with yes-men who only encourage more bad ideas. His second album Connquest is met with critical bashing and a bad publicity stunt that causes massive blackouts (I can’t tell why, it’s too funny). He attempts to continue a world tour with opening act rapper Hunter the Hungry starting to gain more popularity then it’s main star. The movie is filled with interviews from real life icons like Simon Cowell, User, Carrie Underwood, Seal, Pink, Arcade Fire, and even Ringo star.
When you really get down to it, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is a film version of Andy Samberg’s parody band Lonely Island. Though comedic, Lonely Island has generated real hits, real concerts, and has even been nominated for an academy award. Andy Samberg clearly understands the world he comes from, as he makes some sharp criticism about the music industry. All the songs featured here are very funny, catchy, and oddly sound like something that I would hear on the radio.
What Samberg also understands is how guys like him could make it in the world. Though obviously exaggerated, I can’t help but think that some real life musicians are as naive as Conner is here.
As funny as the joke is, I’ll admit that it does start to run out of steam sooner then it should. Though running short at an hour and twenty minutes, it still felt way longer then it should be. Perhaps if we saw some more fake musicians that Conner is up against, we might have seen some justification to go on longer. Though this will probably play well on the digital market, it barely makes it as a movie.
I’ll give this four Lonely Island albums out of five. The joke is funny, even if it’s not as substantial as it wants to be. Most music fans and those that have liked Andy Samberg will probably enjoy this parody. I’d say give the Lonely Island music a listen too first and them maybe check this movie out.