Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (2016) — Raunch, full pop.

“We’d like to get to the point where Connor is everywhere, like oxygen or gravity or clinical depression.”

Justin’s rating: Yet sometimes, I stop popping.

Justin’s review: Considering the strong word-of-mouth I kept hearing about Popstar and my general love of Andy Samberg’s doofy persona, I knew I had to see this sooner or later. I guess I was hoping for the same sort of charming insanity that was in Hot Rod. Expectations were pretty high — yet the delivery was as mixed as mixed could be.

Forget about popping; comparisons to This is Spinal Tap is what people can’t stop doing with this film. And so I will fall into line… and say that while Popstar has its moments, it’s no Spice World. Or even Josie and the Pussycats.

Created by the SNL Lonely Island crew, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping chronicles the rise and extremely messy downfall of Conner (Samberg) by a documentary crew. Originally part of a ’90s rap group called Style Boyz, Connor goes solo and finds a ridiculous amount of success with his first album.

But now that fame and ego has gone to his manchild head, Conner’s follow-up ends up being a chain of disasters and bad calls, from signing a deal that puts his music in a whole line of kitchen appliances to approving album art apparently inspired by the Third Reich to proposing to his fiancé in front of a pack of barely tamed wolves. And it certainly doesn’t help that all of his songs come off as a foul-mouthed junior high rapper in love with his own dumb ideas who also is enjoying a $5 million light show budget.

As Conner is brought low, he’s forced to confront his relationship with the other two Style Boyz — one of whom is a DJ on his tour that hits “play” on an iPod Classic and the other who is a farmer in Colorado. Will they reconcile? Well… yeah. It’s a gimme.

While there’s no doubt that Popstar’s caught on with a good segment of fans who found some cult inspiration, I can’t in good conscience give this a full-on recommendation. It certainly has a number of classic scenes (the bee and wolf attack ones were great), bizarre setups (such as a DJ helmet that can blind airplanes), awesome lines, and sharp satire stabbing at the heart of the over-inflated pop star industry. But this is also tips way too far into crude and raunchy territory that isn’t quite as funny as it thinks it is. The biggest laughs weren’t with dog poop pancakes or some unfortunate full male nudity going on; they were in the kind of innocent silliness that showed up in Hot Rod or earlier Adam Sandler flicks.

There’s no objective highpoint to this sort of movie — it either connects hard with you or shoves you away with a few hardcore obscenities. I get the message. I’m walking, I’m walking.

Didja notice?

  • A mute brother that’s hella scaley
  • Harry Potter over the arena loudspeaker
  • Just throw all the catchphrases into a single chorus
  • It is pronounced “de-bore-ah”
  • Sure, why not throw an album into ovens
  • The bee attack with subtitles only
  • It’s fun to flatline. Apparently.
  • Justin Timberlake as the chef may be the best thing ever
  • Mona Lisa looks like a Garbage Pail Kid
  • The DJ helmet is genuinely hilarious
  • “Are those real wolves?”
  • Best wedding proposal ever
  • Bird poop in the mouth. Gah.
  • Taylor Swift was arrested for murder
  • Mr. Fish
  • Weird Al!

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