Popstar: Never Stop Never StoppingCultureCinemaMovie reviews
This Is Spinal Tap comes to mind while watching the mockumentary Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, and the latter is a delicious lampooning of the music business of today. Lonely Island’s Jorma Taccone, Akiva Schaffer and Andy Samberg wrote and directed the movie which pokes fun at contemporary culture with a smorgasbord of gags delivered in rapid succession, inciting cascades of laughter.
Attempting to sell his second album with a world tour, his monumental success tanking since dumping pop group Style Boyz, Connor (Andy Sandberg) allows his ego to take centre stage, forgetting his friends, taking credit for work composed by a prior bandmate and adding massively stupid gimmicks to his stage performances. His publicist (Sarah Silverman), manager (Tim Meadows) and entourage cook up idiotic schemes, such as secretly inserting Connor’s music into household electrical appliances and causing a nationwide blackout – “… I’d like people to think of Connor as being everywhere, like air … like clinical depression ….” A roadie (Bill Hader) entertains himself with weekly “flat-lining” sessions, and a disgruntled ex-band member (Akiva Schaffer) carves crappy wood sculptures of the accolade he ”should have” won. As upbeat irony, Connor is invited to host a music awards show because “Taylor Swift has been arrested for murder”.
With guest appearances by many stars including Usher, Nas, Snoop Dogg, Justin Timberlake (Connor’s cook), Questlove, Mariah Carey and Simon Cowell, the tone is that of a friendly roast. Even the traditionally mocked Michael Bolton is presented with affection, appearing quite cool. Several tongue-in-cheek references are made to Justin Bieber, as well as Macklemore with the delightfully ridiculous single by Connor promoting gay marriage – which is already legal – perpetually peppered with the lines, “I’m not gay” and “hetero”.
Sandberg is excellent as Connor, incorporating the traits of a cool but dimwitted rapper with aplomb. All the actors perform well, including Taccone and Schaffer as his bandmates and comedian Silverman as Connor’s spacey, whacky publicist.
The slick, excellent sets and effects are some of the highlights of this piece, creating the larger-than-life atmosphere of a media-hyped music world. The musical scores, most created by Samberg, are strong and the lyrics are gleefully silly. The script is well written and spot on with comedic timing. Uproariously entertaining, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is cathartic satire, a reminder to laugh more at the absurdities our society creates.
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is released nationwide on 26th August 2016.
Watch the trailer for Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping here: