Directed by Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone
Written by Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone
The guys from Lonely Island, best known for their hilarious SNL digital shorts where they typically team up with famous singers or actors and make faux music videos, were finally handed the keys to make their own full-length feature film. Naturally they took their usual style and spin on music and created a mockumentary about a Justin Bieber-esque character. In the film Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, we see the rise and fall of the legendary rapper and pop star Conner 4 Real (Andy Samberg). The film is treated literally like a documentary, there are pauses where they ask to turn the camera off and subtitles for when the subjects are talking too low for the mic to catch.
Conner 4 Real was once a member of the notorious Style Boyz, think the Beastie Boys mixed with the Backstreet Boys, he and his childhood friends Owen (Jorma Taccone) and Lawrence (Akiva Schaffer) started the group out of their backyard and became mega stars. One of their most popular albums and songs was the Donkey Roll, a song that even had a dance to go with it. While the backstory is played, they show home videos from when the guys were young and interject them with interviews from such notorious artists as Nas, 50 Cent, Pharrell Williams, and Usher, all who talk about how the Style Boyz touched their lives and inspired their music. This touch makes the movie pretty funny and laughable.
The problem lies in that Conner 4 Real leaves the Style Boyz to become a solo artist, in the process disowning Lawrence and hiring Owen to be his backup DJ, where in Owen just becomes another one of his people he bosses around. Conner is now a huge star and does the craziest of concerts, with everything from set changes, a Daft punk like helmet for Owen to wear on stage, and multiple holograms of Adam Levine. The film follows the release of his newest album, Connquest, one where he has now gone above and beyond with ludicrous lyrics and horrible beats. Conner like many stars of today is followed by minions of “yes” men, basically an entourage of people who just tell him how great he is all the time, so he can’t see how crappy his music has really turned out.
All Owen wants is for Conner to realize how crappy his music has really turned out and for the Style Boyz to get back together. Lawrence is now stuck on a farm doing really random weird things like whittling wood and hanging out with goats, and doesn’t want anything to do with Conner. His manager (Tim Meadows) also tries to steer him in the right direction, but he just won’t listen. What ensues from here is a journey in which Conner has to realize who he is and how to reconnect back with his passion for music.
The movie was really funny, I found myself laughing nonstop at many of the ridiculous moments. I could see this film becoming a staple for college kids to watch. There’s not much substance to the film though but I am not sure how much of it is it supposed to have? I mean it’s a movie about a ridiculous Vanilla Ice slash Justin Bieber type character. I can’t pinpoint it one hundred percent, but I left feeling like something was missing. The film served its purpose in being hysterical, but it almost just felt like a really long SNL sketch.
Samberg and Taccone were hilarious and did a great job at creating many funny sarcastic scenes. Meadows always delivers in his usual cynical and ironic tone. The cameos in this film worked because they only made the material even more absurd. Especially Will Arnett who plays a character like Harvey Levin from TMZ, sipping tons of water and laughing at celebrities like they do on the show.
The film is a great one to watch if you are in the mood to just sit back and laugh. If you are looking for something with more substance and an edge, then this is not the movie for you. Overall, the Lonely Island men did a great job of making me laugh nonstop and if you are a fan of their digital shorts, then you will definitely enjoy this flick.