Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping review

photo courtesy of Youtube under a Creative Commons license

Holden Foreman, web editor

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TKC reviewed Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping upon the movie’s June 3 release, but viewers have another chance to see the movie when it comes out on Blu-ray Monday, Sept. 12.

“I’m a weirdo” upstart popstar Connor4Real (Andy Samberg) proclaims on his track of the same name, and the statement extends to the entire production of the June 3 mockumentary Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. This movie is weird. But at the same time, it takes no risks. The formulaic plot, superstar-studded cast and brief runtime (1 hour 26 minutes) make for a short, silly film without any dull moments. And in the end, the low-risk approach of The Lonely Island, a longtime Saturday Night Live band known for their hilarious spoofs and songs, makes this movie a safe bet for anyone wanting laughs.

The story follows a musical icon who plummets from the summit of success after a string of stupid decisions. Eventually, he learns that his old buddies, who formerly performed with him in a group known as the Style Boyz, represent the key to reclaiming his fame and integrity. Of course, the brash, mistake-ridden and downright embarrassing path Connor takes to reach this realization makes for most of the movie’s humor. Each scene, whether an offensive music video, a personal confrontation or a stage gimmick gone wrong, reeks with slapstick comedy. But that doesn’t mean it’s childish or cheap. In fact, the audience around me in the theater united in laughter at many points throughout the film, despite our wide range of ages.

As a mockumentary, the film pretends it is real life via interviews with actual musicians. Even R&B singer Seal, pop singer Pink and west-coast rapper Snoop Dogg have cameos within the movie. Connor primarily emulates a young Justin Bieber through his looks, cockiness and questionable decision making. Still, the movie never throws any of this in your face, so you will have the same laughs without any background knowledge or “homework” necessary.

The film’s plot and writing are decent, but the actual acting is phenomenal. Samberg was made for the role of Connor, who flips facial expressions like a switch to fit any emotional wrench thrown his way. Meanwhile, his DJ and one of two former Style Boyz, Owen (Jorma Taccone), perfectly portrays the servile friend archetype. He always finds a way to agree with Connor, even when the latter’s decision is obviously lunacy. The third and final member of the Style Boyz, Lawrence (Akiva Schaffer), took the hardest fall after the boy band split, and he somehow manages to radiate depression in a movie of undeniable hilarity.

Overall, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is a funny movie through and through, and from my experience with comedies, that is an enormous accomplishment. While it probably won’t win any awards, the film’s ability to satirize musical documentaries such as Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never (2011) so fittingly is remarkable. Plus, there are dozens of quotable moments that will provide laughs beyond the movie’s actual runtime. Trust me. Once you sit down with some popcorn and watch music greats like Nas and Mariah Carey praise Connor4Real with straight faces, you will understand how silly this entire production is. And the cast knows it, so watch this movie if you have no shame in stupid fun.