By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)
Former SNL comedy troupe The Lonely Island has made a music mockumentary and the results are hilarious. The trio consisting of Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, and Jorma Taccone have taken on pop star documentaries like Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, but also incorporate some of the expected elements from other artist portraits and musical artist biopics. The movie has plenty of delightful and raucous surprises as well. Fans of The Lonely Island’s comedy shorts will absolutely adore this film. Those unfamiliar with their brand of comedy, but have enjoyed This Is Spinal Tap, and other Christopher Guest mockumentaries should also have fun
Samberg stars as Conner4Real, the subject of the documentary that follows the pop artist during the promotion of his latest album Connquest. Conner4Real is a well-respected entertainer who began his career as a member of a successful pop trio called The Style Boyz. After a heated conflict over creative credit, Style Boyz lyricist Lawrence (Schaffer) decides to leave the group. In the aftermath of the break-up, Conner4Real reinvents himself as a solo artist with the remaining Style Boy Owen as his DJ. And thus begins a successful solo career that quickly suffers the usual trappings of an inflated ego, excessive spending and the poor advice of sycophants.
Written by The Lonely Island trio and directed by Schaffer and Taccome, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping delivers a feature length film that will definitely please Lonely Island fans, but may annoy or offend those who dislike their comedy style. As a fan of their shorts, I had a blast watching this mix of sharp-witted satire, over-the-top spoof, and uproarious bawdy songs of a non-politically correct nature. The plot is typical musical biopic fodder with very few surprises in that area, but the comedy itself, the highly amusing characters, and the delightful celebrity cameos make the film a highly entertaining ride.
Samberg indubitably holds his own here, and shines brightly as Conner4Real. Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccome bring much heart to their roles as artists living and working under Conner’s shadow. The movie also stars Tim Meadows as Harry, Conner’s manager, Sarah Silverman as Conner’s publicist Paula, and Imogene Poots as his vacuous, superficial girlfriend Ashley. The film also features appearances from some of Samberg’s former SNL colleagues, and the long list of cameos.
The movie has received an R rating from the MPAA and certainly earns it and owns it. More conservative and reserved audiences probably will not enjoy this film. Those not easily offended and who enjoyed the ribald style of comedy in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story will relish this movie’s unabashed approach to its comedy. Because I enjoyed this film so much, I hope that it is a big success and that it leads to more comedy feature films by The Lonely Island.