Tuesday, June 21, 2016

'Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping' Introduced Me to the Talents of The Lonely Island

I’ve never been a fan of Andy Samberg.  I liked his voice work on the Hotel Transylvania movies, but he never struck me as someone who can do great comedy.  I saw some of his sketches and roasts, but I was never really impressed.  But Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping did to Samberg – or, more accurately, to the comedy group The Lonely Island, which Samberg is one-third of – what Keanu did for Key & Peele: I became familiar of their comedic talents, and now, they intrigue me.

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is a mockumentary that satirizes the pop music industry and culture.  It follows the career of a Justin Bieber analogue named Conner Friel (Andy Samberg), who used to be part of an iconic hiphop boy band named The Style Boyz, but became a bigger star as a solo artist named Conner4Real after the band feuded and split up.  Due to the fame and success getting to his head, he started believing that he can do no wrong.  It also doesn’t help that he is surrounded by a huge entourage of “yes men.”  Thus, the inputs on his second album, Connquest, are purely from his poor tastes and incompetent insights, which nobody dared to disagree with.  The album unsurprisingly receives negative reviews and commercially flops.  Desperate to remain in the spotlight, Conner resorts to gimmicks ranging from glitzy to ridiculous.
The script isn’t brilliant, but it’s pretty clever as a whole.  It has misses, but there are more hits.  Amusements, chuckles, and laughs are spread consistently throughout its run time.  The absurd characters and cameos are a lot of fun – heck, even Sarah Silverman’s character (a surprise since I find her movie roles annoying most of the time).  Plus, it even has a heartfelt message underneath all the ridiculousness.

Popstar is essentially a production of The Lonely Island comedy group – composed of Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and Akiva Schaffer – as they co-produced, wrote, directed, and starred in it.  Any positive thing that can be said about this movie can be rightfully and directly attributed to this trio.  So kudos to them, for Popstar ended up being a really good comedy film overall.

It’s premature to say that I’ve become a fan of The Lonely Island.  Not quite there yet.  But as far as Popstar is concerned, they delivered a fresh and memorable comedy film that had me in stitches, and thus, I’m now looking forward to see more of their future big screen endeavors.

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