Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (2016)

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Crazy, stupid and random but totally in a good way, this is a genuinely funny musical mockumentary from The Lonely Island trio, that squeezes in songs, cameos and a vague story about friendship and roots.

After the heyday of The Style Boyz, it was clear Conner (Andy Samberg) was the star breaking out to become Conner4Real. He has fellow Style Boy Owen (Jorma Taccone) as his DJ as they get filmed in the short run up to Conner’s 2nd album release and following tour. However his appeal may be waning as reviews are unkind and past beef with Lawrence (Akiva Schaffer) comes into the picture.

The mockumentary style is handled very well and transitions it to this celeb filled environment of the 21st century with plenty of jokes and pop-shots including brilliant lines about Zayn Malik and later, Taylor Swift There’s even humour to be had with the filming as the camera guys miss an epic event or confusion to whose documentary entourage are whose at the Poppies.

Of course with this type of filming for the movie, it gives plenty of chances to know Conner and see him in all stages of ups and downs. It’s the only way this movie would have worked and been as funny as it opens the door to numerous cameos who send themselves up and act deadly serious when portraying Conner as this genius icon. One only problem with the film is there are so many actors involved to portray his people that some get left very underused.

It’s a film that you can tell has plenty of scenes and riffs left on the cutting room floor to be seen on special features or not at all. I loved the CMZ cutaways though, led by Will Arnett that positively rip into the TV gossip channels with gusto and slurping hilarity. As it’s written by The Lonely Island and produced by Judd Apatow you can feel that improv and zany comedy aura. Most of the time it works to be honest which is great, there’s only a couple of places where the comedy seems to lull and the film loses the welcome pacy nature, actually it’s the first half which zips and pows before a second half which is not as good.

To the songs; which are brilliant. The opening ‘I’m So Humble’ to kick in the beginning credits is catchy, over the top and backed by excessive holograms to give a nice little knock to the Coachella buzz of a holo-performer. ‘Equal Rights’ is stupidly hilarious, the one word retorts after Conner trying to seem open to gay acceptance are fast and fun, the Pink duet backs this as she looks on bemused to his lyrics. I would go on and comment on the other songs but truly most if not all of the songs are cleverly penned.

Andy Samberg knows how to play the doofus arrogant man and delivers his moronic lines with perfect timing but still has enough humanity left that you can stick on side with him. Jorma Taccone plays the pointless Conner4Real DJ well, showcasing his booth with humour and going on a journey as he decides whether to stay with his old friend. Bill Hader is hardly in it but gets a laugh out loud scene about flat-lining, Imogen Poots also underused is okay in sending up celeb couples but doesn’t get much to prove. Justin Timberlake is great though in a backseat role but stealing limelight enough to make his character memorable. It’s people like Simon Cowell, Usher and even Ringo Starr that get more of the laughs as they speak to the camera.

A mixture of deadpan humour and dumbness as they wax lyrical about a very obviously idiotic performer shoots this musical mockumentary into the starry heights of satirical comedy that works.

7.5/10

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