Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is a documentary style comedy featuring the members of The Lonely Island as they offer a glimpse into the rise and fall of one such popstar, Conner4Real. While a large portion of the humor found within the movie was shown in the trailers, it still offers a great amount of laughs, some heart, and a necessary reason to never open a car window, ever.
Popstar features the trio from The Lonely Island; Jorma Taccone, Akiva Schaffer and of course, Andy Samberg, as they play Owen, Lawrence and Conner Friel, respectively. Conner, changing his last name from Friel to 4Real, leaves the band to go solo, recruits Owen to be his DJ, while Lawrence fades from the public eye to become a farmer. The movie, at every chance it can get, reminds us of their past as the musical group; The Style Boyz, and it’s in this constant remembrance that the film becomes predictable, especially the ending.
Since releasing his first solo album after leaving The Style Boyz, Conner’s popularity had gone through the roof and his record sales seemed unstoppable, but after the release of his second album, which fails to hit any sales targets at all, he does everything he can to make it back to the top.
I enjoyed Conner’s rise and fall, as it lead to some fantastic growth for the character. Conner is mostly a jerk to everyone, yet you feel for him throughout his journey. Samberg is fantastic as Conner, offering the same ‘dumbness’ that most of his roles usually entail. There is a scene late in the film where he recognizes his faults, and the way he handles the explanation is beyond hilarious and typical of Samberg’s usual characters. While it can feel like Samberg plays it fairly safe here, it’s that comfort zone for him that allows him to shine in something he knows how to do all too well.
Popstar is set in the real world, with real people like Seal, Pink and Jimmy Fallon playing themselves, where other actors like Emma Stone, Sarah Silverman and Justin Timberlake play characters like his publicist, personal cook or a famous singer. These fictional characters interact with Conner far more than the real people featured throughout. Since this is a documentary style film, the movie is filled to the brim, and then some, of nearly every popular singer you can think of telling stories about Conner, or how he impacted their lives.
The movie has a fairly decent cast who offer some really great laughs and moments in the film, but the best this movie gives us is when The Lonely Island trio is on screen together. The movie in some ways feels like an extended Lonely Island music video, but in a good way. I enjoyed Hot Rod, a film that also starred these three entertainers, with Akiva directing, but felt that since the music industry is something they are already a part of, that this film felt more natural to display their talents.
The music within the movie works perfectly, with almost every song being catchy yet somehow always offensive; much in the style The Lonely Island is known for. I’m a huge Lonely Island fan, and this movie brings everything you love about them to the big screen. It’s safe to say that if you are not a fan of The Lonely Island, then this movie may not entertain you as the group’s hold on the film is constant throughout.
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is a fictional look at the rise and fall of celebrity, wrapped in great humor, fun moments, and great music. They also find a way to poke fun at the method in which U2 offered their latest album to apple device users, by having it instantly download to their iPod or iPhone via iTunes, regardless if they wanted it or not. I enjoyed what Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping offered but felt that most of the best bits of the movie were in the trailers, which is sadly usual of how comedies are marketed. It drags a little bit in a few scenes, and a few of the jokes feel a bit forced. If you are a fan of Andy Samberg or even the entire Lonely Island group, then you’ll have a great time with Popstar.