It’s not that often you see a straight-up comedy these days. Sure there’s romantic movies that are funny, or enormously long comic-book action movies that have funny bits, or even kid’s movies that are funny (if you’re lucky). Very few movies are actually funny in by themselves. But Popstar attempted to do just that and I think it succeeded. I found Popstar funny, like REALLY funny. Of course I’m a sucker for Incompetence Humor. when people confidently try to do things they are clearly incapable of and then are puzzled when it doesn’t work out, that makes me laugh every time.
When it becomes clear that his solo album is a failure, a former boy band member does everything in his power to maintain his celebrity status.
This film reminded me of the first Zoolander quite a bit. Popstar took the piss out of the Music Industry instead of the Fashion Industry and both involved huge stars with no idea how to actually get on in the world. But Popstar was more parody than farce though, there was no fashion consortium, brainwashing or martial arts. The point of Popstar was that this was probably pretty close to what actually happens, it has a semi-documentary type feel to it. I’m not really into music enough to get all the jokes that were in this movie, but I did laugh at the extended (and pointed) joke about Macklemore. There were a lot of celebrity cameos and (maybe it was just me) but they looked delighted to be there mocking the absurdity of their industry.
Besides being just plain funny, Popstar was really well done. Funny movies can often cut corners like like pacing or acting because we don’t need to be impressed to get the joke. But Popstar was well written and the acting was really strong. The plot and dialogue were actually structured for a movie rather than just set-ups for jokes. I found Andy Samberg hilarious and completely believable as a pampered star divorced from reality. I found Akiva Shaffer hilarious as the former star (now farmer) his deadpan delivery was perfect. Tim Meadows was great as the down-to-earth-though-quirky manager. And I always love Sarah Silverman.
Not every scene was perfect or every joke funny. There were times when the whole ‘social media documentary’ concept seemed to deflate the jokes that it was there to tell. There were moments that it fell flat. To be honest, I wasn’t sure mocking Big Music was a broad enough topic to really make a full film out of. Thankfully there was an actual story (with an actual character arc) that made it an actual movie (though absurd) with an actual plot. It is the story of a man who has lost track of what his relationship with the world should be and what he should do about that. Though probably you shouldn’t do what he does, even if you could.
So should you see Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping? Yes, I think so. It’s not necessary to see it on the big screen, you can rent it. It’s very entertaining and worth the time (quite reasonable – 86 minutes) it takes to see it. The jokes are funny. I wish I could list them out here but I won’t. Except for the one about the wolves that’s in the trailer – it’s even funnier in the film.