The Lonely Island made their return to the silver screen with “Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping” almost a decade after their debut film “Hot Rod” hit theaters. “Popstar” is a mockumentary that follows pop star Connor Freil (Andy Samberg), or “Connor4Real”. A musical prodigy from an early age, Friel starts a rap group with best friends Owen and Lawrence (directors Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer) called the Style Boyz. However, Connor becomes the breakout star of the group. This causes a friction with the other members and the group splits up as a result. Connor decides to go solo and manages to hit it big with the album “Thriller, Also”. However, Connor tries to reconcile with the fact that his follow-up album fails to live up to the hype and his tour struggles as a result.
“Popstar” does a great job of satirizing the absurdities of the music industry. Andy Samberg does a fine job of playing a vain, pretentious pop star in the vein of Justin Bieber while also making that character sympathetic, which is a feat that is not easy to accomplish. The supporting cast does a fine job as well, but the person who really stands out is Tim Meadows as Connor’s manager, Harry Duggins. This is not too surprising since he was in a similar movie called “Walk Hard”. The Lonely Island does not disappoint with their humorous songs that lampoon today’s pop music such as the ironic “I’m Humble” to the Macklemore parody “Equal Rights” to the absurd “Finest Girl (Bin Laden Song)” as well as a diss track aimed at the Mona Lisa. It’s essentially what the Lonely Island does best.
However, the movie’s sense of humor can be rather hit and miss at certain points. As with any mockumentary, there’s bound to be talking head moments. Considering the subject of this movie, those talking head moments consists of celebrity cameos. Of course, how funny these cameos are can vary from celebrity to celebrity. While this movie seeks to lampoon the excesses of the pop music industry, the humor in this movie can be really over-the-top. A lot of this movie seems to be padded as well in order to make up for its short run time.
Overall, “Popstar” is a fun, light-hearted jab at the pop music industry. However, if I had to pick the quintessential musical mockumentary, I’m going with 1984’s “This is Spianl Tap”. Otherwise, it’s good as a stand-alone film.