Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
By: John Delia
Continuing with a list of goofball films the trio of writers called The Lonely Island (Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer) make Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. It’s a mockumentary style movie that may look a bit like it’s about a famous pop star who made it big, but it’s just another project for their memory chest. You may remember the films Hot Rod and The Watch (or maybe not), but these were the writers that also collaborated on those two so-so comedies, both of which barely made a pay day for the big talent that were in them. Now comes another shot at trying to build an audience and box office, but from the looks of Popstar they should hunker down for the long haul.
The story centers on the music group Style Boyz composed of Kid Conner (Andy Samberg), Owen (Jorma Taccone) and Lawrence (Akiva Schaffer) who had a one-hit wonder. Following their big hit, things fell apart and Kid left the group going solo as Conner4Real a pop rapper with a lot of flash. Taking the world by storm with his first album, Conner found himself topping the charts and seeing a bright future. As with most artists, his next step was to make another album and a ton of money. The album hits the street and it’s a bust, only making a measly $69,000 in the first month.
Conner4Real decides to put himself on a road tour to promote his new album. After all, he has one of the top road managers Harry (Tim Meadows) helping him to get a foot in the door at major venues. But, it’s not working and Harry suggests an opening act to get crowds in. When he hires the rap artist Hunter the Hungry (Chris Redd) the crowd goes wild, but not so for the main attraction.
The music, choreography and the antics on stage provide all the fun for this film, but the lyrics may be a little harsh for even older teens. The rap commentary gets a little political and off the wall, but it’s more of a silly knock on notables like killing Bin Laden and a rip of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. But he really begins to lose his fans when he starts doing magical costume changes on stage, especially when one of the tricks gets sabotaged.
All in all, the film has its moments and the sound track has a great beat. But beyond that there’s nothing by silliness and awkward moments. I like Andy Samberg on his TV show “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” as the detective that has some of the most outlandish assignments, more so than in Popstar. While Samberg and his fellow writers try to be creative here, the dumbing down gets too bizarre, wacky and zany. It actually gets a little, should I say extreme? My guess is that Popstar will have a long uphill climb to get enough box-office to make their money back.
The cameos are fun to watch, which include Pharrell Williams, Sarah Silverman, Will Forte, Adam Levine, Mariah Carey, Jimmy Fallon, Martin Sheen, Bill Hader, Ringo Star, Will Arnett, Simon Cowell, Snoop Dogg, Usher, Nas, 50 Cent, Pink, Michael Bolton and more. You’ll especially get a kick out of Maya Rudolph as an ad executive trying to get product placement Conner4Real’s tour. She’s a stitch!
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping has been rated R by the MPAA for some graphic nudity, language throughout, sexual content and drug use. The nudity gets really raunchy with male frontal in a bizarre scene that involves Conner4Real autographing a fan’s private parts. As for the language, there’s plenty of that, offensive and derogatory, especially the rap verse of Conner’s new album.
FINAL ANALYSIS: A wacky look at a touring rock star on the rocks. (C+)