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Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

Coming Soon

Assuming you’ve seen the occasional Saturday Night Live episode over the last ten years, chances are good that you’ve heard of The Lonely Island. If for some reason you have not, I highly suggest doing some research right away because you’re seriously missing out on one of the best things to come out of SNL since 2005. The talented trio of Akiva Schaffer, Andy Samberg, and Jorma Taccone utilize their talents in the best way possible in my opinion, making songs that are comical as well as catchy. Over their first ten years they have released three studio albums, each of which being met with warm reception and mostly positive reviews. Using the SNL Digital Shorts platform to increase their reach has worked out well for both the show as well as the musical group. It doesn’t hurt matters either that these guys are heavy on the celeb cameos in their videos. The next logical step for Akiva, Andy and Jorma would be to make a full length movie. And that brings us to 2016 and the new movie, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. Let’s start here, shall we?
If you want to make it in the music business it seems you often need to keep reinventing yourself in order to stay relevant. Sometimes this comes at a cost. Family, friends, ideals. And when that moment hits where you’re no longer the darling of the town, how will you react? Conner4Real (Andy Samberg, That’s My Boy (2012)) is at the top of his game. So much so in fact, that he starts to alienate those that helped him get to where his is today.
You see Conner4Real is part of the smash hit group, The Style Boyz which he shares the stage with his two closest friends, Lawrence (Akiva Schaffer) and Owen (Jorma Taccone), until drama, greed and misguidance fracture this once-great foundation. Lawrence leaves the group, and the industry, while Owen stays by Conner4Real’s side as he launches a solo career. Really hits Conner4Real hard as he realizes that one is the loneliest number. He tries different approaches to get back to the status in which he was accustomed to but it becomes failure after failure. Eventually he realizes that sometimes you have to go back in order to go forward.
Yes, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is completely fictional but that doesn’t mean that many of these things don’t occur on a daily basis. That’s what makes comedy like this so great, poking fun at things we all know to be true but never really talk about. I have to imagine that any of those in the music industry will get an extra layer of enjoyment from this film. Just like in many of the music videos for The Lonely Island it’s cameo jubilee. Most of these people are playing themselves while others serve as actual characters. Tim Meadows (The Ladies Man (2000)) plays Harry, the group’s manager. Sarah Silverman (School of Rock (2003)) acts as the agent and booking manager.
Then there’s Will Arnett (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (2016)) who plays the head guy over at the gossip media agency CMZ, clearly parodying TMZ’s Harvey Levin. And just like he did in 2014’s The Lego Movie with his portrayal of Batman, he totally slays it. The list goes on and on so keep your eyes open as it adds to the overall enjoyment of the movie. Interesting side note, Arnett has two movies debuting this weekend in this one and TMNT2. Those are two long titles totaling 13 words for one actor. That might be a modern day record. I mean Woody Allen’s 1972 comedy Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask was 13 words on its own so I suppose it isn’t THAT special, but still….impressive. If you’re curious to know what the longest movie title is, follow this link because 13 letters is a mere drop in the alphabet soup bucket compared to this one.
Speaking of enjoyment though, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is one of those movies that you’ll love or hate. I imagine the ones paying to go see it will enjoy it because they’re already fans or are curious to see what the fuss is all about. I’ve already seen some mixed reviews but I think this is great 90 minutes spent laughing at the absurdity presented before you. Andy Samberg is not so subtle about some of the individuals he’s clearing poking fun at. I mean the title and the poster speak volumes for that pick up on it. There are so many things to pick up on that it definitely has that watch again and again aspect to it. You’ll want to bring your friends and laugh together. I haven’t even mentioned the soundtrack yet; it’s a must-have and should be the fourth hit album for The Lonely Island.
So if you couldn’t tell, I’m a big fan of the path that Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping takes. The story, albeit silly, still has substance as well as life lessons to be learned. Akiva Schaffer, Andy Samberg, and Jorma Taccone obviously have great chemistry but getting a sustained dose of it for more than four minutes at a time is an even greater joy than I thought it would be. Check it out in theaters now and prepare to laugh.

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is streaming now on the following services:
Movie Reelist Contributor: Carl Wheeler

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