Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Review - #doinkdedoink

Chad White
Loves: Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, Akiva Schaffer
Likes: Pop music, parodies, cameos
Dislikes: Being unhumble
Hates: Short movies

So humble.

After years of three minute shorts and music videos on Saturday Night Live, The Lonely Island finally have their chance to shine in a bigger spotlight as a group. Led by Andy Samberg, directed by Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer and starring all three of the comedians, Popstar Never Stop Never Stopping reaches heights of ridiculousness that are equally hilarious and heartwarming. Samberg, Taccone and Schaffer make for wonderful talents, even if this movie is getting compared to an overly long SNL digital short.

The story centers on a Justin Bieber/One Direction/generic boy band star Connor Friel a.k.a Connor4Real played by Lonely Island front man Samberg. After his boyband the Style Boyz – featuring childhood friends Lawrence Dunn and Owen Bouchard (Schaffer and Taccone respectively) – breaks up, Connor and Owen branch out to do their own thing with the latter being the DJ to the former’s popstar. Dunn becomes a farmer and wood worker of sorts. Along with Tim Meadows’ manager Harry and Sarah Silverman’s publicist Paula, Connor’s entourage has about twenty other people who are all yes men. After the latest album sales tank, the group goes on a tour only to have Tyler the Creator rip-off Hunter the Hungry (Chris Redd) come in and take over. That leads Connor on his own journey of self-discovery and realization that he may not be who he thinks he is.

Popstar is a fast, frenetic jaunt in the world of musical documentary. There’s almost no time to breathe in its short eighty-six-minute run time. And its time is a real detriment to the story. There were probably scenes that were shortened down to keep jokes flying but Popstar is short to a fault. Scenes ramp up accordingly but we’re ultimately left wanting more. That’s always a good thing to have in a comedy movie seeing as how there are some great parts of this movie to want. The cameos, for instance, are expected but essentially the best parts of this already great movie. Carrie Underwood, Questlove, Martin Sheen, P!nk, Usher, Emma Stone and many, many more grace the silver screen for seconds at a time – Will Forte has a real half second scene himself. And a TMZ parody featuring Will Arnett, Chelsea Peretti, Eric Andre and Mike Birbiglia is a true standout. There are so many guest stars to this movie that never disappoint.

Other setbacks are the included musical segments. If you’ve listened to the companion album (more on that below), large segments of some of the songs are included in the movie. Songs go on for a long time during the concert segments and it gets a little annoying after hearing them. But, if you’re going in fresh, you have nothing to worry about. Admittedly, it’s a joy to see hits like “Equal Rights” and “Finest Girl” get their own videos.

Connor’s character is instantly likeable. He’s not a douchebag; just ignorant. He’s exactly how Justin Bieber is in real life. From the beginning of the film, the story has Connor on a journey of learning who his real friends are. Schaffer and Taccone do an excellent job of conveying those emotions as well as the concert atmosphere. Their direction is top notch with sweeping shots of the crowds and close ups on jokes when necessary. The talking head segments are of the highest quality as they’re used unsparingly sprinkled throughout.

Should you watch Popstar Never Stop Never Stopping?

There’s no way to say “no” here. If you’re a fan of pop music, documentaries, mockumentaries, The Lonely Island, or any combination of those, then this is the movie for you. It’s short and fast but the jokes are far too enjoyable for that to matter. Popstar is a real treat and should not be missed.

 

Popstar Never Stop Never Stopping Album Review: Let me see you Donkey Roll

Chad White
Loves: The Lonely Island, Features, Emma Stone
Likes: Seal
Dislikes: Mona Lisa, she’s a basic bitch
Hates: Dialogue from movies on soundtracks

Popstar Never Stop Never Stopping has a separate companion album that includes every song from the movie. In short: it’s classic Lonely Island. From the beginning, the addicting beat of “I’m So Humble” and Adam Levine’s vocals lead Connor4Real into a sing-rap that’s enjoyable. The totally not gay P!nk featured song “Equal Rights” is written from the perspective of a man who is not gay and loves not gay things like sports, hot wings, and titties.

These songs contradict slower hits like “Mona Lisa,” who Conner refers to as “an overrated piece of shit,” and the Akon featured song “Should I Move?” which is a listing of features of Connor’s home. Over the course of 28 tracks (many of them dialogue) Connor manages to keep enough interest invested with his outlandish lyrics to keep listeners guessing. The strange yet lovable “2 Banditos,” thing listing “Things In My Jeep” featuring Linkin Park and the catchphrase spouting “Turn Up The Beef” featuring Emma Stone are wildly entertaining. Nothing hits harder than “Incredible Thoughts” which features Michael Bolton and Mr. Fish (Connor’s chef played by Justin Timberlake) but “Ashley Wednesday” sung by Seal is a great slow rendition of a dumb song.

Should you listen to Popstar Never Stop Never Stopping: The Official Soundtrack?

Like its predecessors Incredibad, Turtleneck & Chain, and The Wack Album, Popstar is a feat in music with hits and cameos that strike hard. The songs are funny with lyrics that entice the “play it again” mentality. Buy it or stream it and bask in the meaty, poppy goodness.

 

Notes

  • I’m completely surprised by this movie. I love The Lonely Island to death and did not have full faith in this movie. I’m sorry. It’s good as butts, guys.
  • Carrie Underwood, Questlove, RZA and a handful of other talking heads were used more than others. I wonder how those interviews were done.
  • Jimmy Fallon’s ring finger was still bandaged from when he went through ring emulsion. That means this was show to the very least last summer. They made this movie real quick.
  • I will forever love Emma Stone in whatever role she portrays. I’m watching Aloha and Irrational Man this week. Fingers crossed <3!
  • Tim Meadows will never fail to get a laugh out of me.
  • Schaffer and Taccone are so good at directing. This looks like a real documentary from the talking heads to the characters mentioning the cameras every so often. And the triple pile up of reality show cameras getting mixed up at the show at the end was splendid.
  • Mike Birbiglia in a blond wig and the other CMZ reporters drinking out of those cups had me in tears.
  • Maya Rudolph put the hard -er at the end of one of her lines. Caught me off guard and earned a well deserved laugh. As did Samberg’s “My friend” response to Hunter’s “My nigga.”
  • This is a world in which Justin Timberlake doesn’t exist but Connor’s chef named Tyrus Quash looks and sings just like him. I would hate that world.