When his new album fails to sell records, pop and rap superstar conner4real (Andy Samberg) goes into a major tailspin and watches his celebrity high life begin to collapse. He'll try anything to bounce back, anything except reuniting with his old rap group The Style Boyz.
This is my review of Popstar Never Stop Never Stopping (spoiler free)
Cast: Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, Akiva Schaffer, Sarah Silverman, Tim Meadows
Plot: The life of superstar musician Conner4Real (Samberg) appears to be a charmed one, filled with groupies, screaming crowds and sacks of cash. But trouble is on the horizon in the form of a scheming rapper (Chris Redd), a disastrous merchandise deal and a swarm of killer bees.
The spirit of This is Spinal Tap looms large over the latest comedy from the Lonely Island Crew. Like Rob Reiner's masterpiece, it's a mockumentary and a fun one at that with laughs coming out of the whazoo. It follows three likable idiots as they navigate the choppy waters of the music biz. There is even an update of Tap's 'Sh*t Sandwich' scene, as Conner4Real (Andy Samberg in possibly his funniest role ever) checks out reviews of his new album: rather than showing a star rating, Rolling Stone awards it the poop emoticon. Happily, rather than coming off as a pale imitation, Popstar: Never Sop Never Stopping squeezes laughs out of its tale like juice from a plum. However if the music industry was silly in the 1980s this certainly shows how silly it was but it's even daft now, and Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer gleefully go to town sending up its absurdities. Conner4Real is an ear studded jackass, whose humongous entourage includes an eyebrow specialist, a scarf caddy (that's a real thing) and a guy who punches him in the nuts to remind where he came from.
Weirdly he has an army of personalized holograms that caper around the stage. Conner is a narcissist who uploads daily videos to Youtube, and who his best friend Owen (Taccone) to wear a deadmau5-like helmet that emits a terrifying light beacon and makes an ominous sound that is likely to deafen anybody that passes by. However Conner, is an attention seeker and there is nothing that he won't do to get attention – a trait that is consistently hilarious – and, given Miley's twerking and Kanye's tweet-based rants, it is all too plausible today. Hot Rod, which is the Lonely Island's film about a wannabe Evel Knievel, was at times hysterical, but lumbered with a weak narrative that really let it down. Popstar's set-up is simpler and more effective and won't fail to make you laugh. It turns out Conner4Real used to be just Conner, a decent guy who formed a boy band with Owen and his other buddy Lawrence (Schaffer) just because he wanted to see what it was like to be famous. When he got a taste for fame, he became a monster: Owen became his Dj-slave and Lawrence retired to a farm to whittle woodcarvings but unfortunately he hates that job but anything to get away from the monster.
The story, as Owen attempts to reunite The Style Boyz which was the name of Conner's boy band, hat bit is surprisingly engaging. What they have added to the film are the inspired cameos peppered throughout the film mainly from the worlds of music (Arcade Fire, Justin Timberlake, Seal) and comedy (Will Forte, Bill Hader oddly with very long hair), and finally both (Weird Al Yankovic). On a weird note there is also a penis, which if reports are to be believed, belongs to an A-list director. This is Spinal Tap, of course was pinned around several gloriously bad songs, but they were enjoyable much like this the music is stupid but it's enjoyable even if some of it is offensive. But This is Spinal Tap lampooned around different genres of music. And Lonely Island certainly know their stuff because they know their way around a big juicy hook, which is what a song needs as anyone who has watched their Saturday Night Live videos can attest. Highlights here include Finest Girl, a sex jam with relentless references to the assassination of Osama Bin Laden, and Equal Rights, a paean to gay marriage filled with assurances that the singer is heterosexual. The tunes in this movie are whip-smart, quick-witted and stupendously dumb but that's a good because the hook makes them catchy that you'll be singing the hits well after the credits roll.
In conclusion this is a quick-witted and well written comedy that will make you laugh out loud and even produce tears from your eyes. This is certainly a Lonely Island movie and probably one of the best of their movies it's completely relentless even the greatest comedy kings and queens will love it.
Verdict: An absolute blast, with a frenetic strike-rate and songs that will worm their way into your ears for days. Like Conner, this comedy's for real.
8/10 incredibly funny
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