Written By Ryan Hollen
This is a spoiler-free review.
It should be noted that I am not a huge Saturday Night Live fan. I’ve watched the iconic sketch comedy series plenty of times over the years and it’s really hit or miss. Sure, everybody can get a laugh or two from Will Ferrell hosting “Celebrity Jeopardy”, the legendary “More Cowbell” sketch which never gets old, or belly over in laugher from my personal favorite Bill Hader’s Stefon. But more often than not I find myself quickly gunning for the TV remote.
But there is one act SNL helped build that I cannot ignore – The Lonely Island. The Trio of Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, and Jorma Taccone formed in 2001 by childhood friends helped popularize the SNL Digit Short with music videos for such memorable hits like “I’m on a Boat”, “Like a Boss”, and “Dick in a Box”. It came as no surprise that when I heard about the troupe writing, directing, and starring the feature length movie – Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping I was in.
The film is shot in a “mockumentary” style following the rise and fall of Conner4Real, a pop superstar, who was an original member of The Style Boyz, who shot to fame after leaving the band and becoming a solo artist. However, Conner surrounding himself with a parade of “yes men” and his growing false sense of confidence leads to the potential downfall of the pop session.
The movie plays almost as a direct parody of 2011’s documentary Justin Bieber: Never Say Never. Fans of the group’s music and previous SNL Digit Shorts will be pleased. It feels like one long Digit Short but that is not particularly a bad thing. The music is just as outrageous as fans of the group would expect (My personal favorite is “Finest Girl (Bin Laden Song)”. The Lonely Island always are at their best when they camera and team up with other music artist and this is no different. Chalk full of cameos from some of music biggest names and music featuring Pink and Adam Levine (And a surprises from two Lonely Island Alumni) the movie doesn’t cut away from what made The Lonely Island so popular in the first place.
Truth be told, if you are reading this you don’t really care about great directing, swell acting, and a tremendous story but hey, this movie has all that too! It’s just not set pieces, gags, and music. It’s a movie full of heart and emotion that compliments the gags. It surprised me and it will surprise the viewer too.
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping stars Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone, Sarah Silverman, Tim Meadows, and Imogen Poots. It currently is in theaters now.