Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is a highly entertaining, yet infuriatingly competent satire of the modern music industry. The film’s premise has the potential for an instant classic, and while there are flashes of brilliance in the opening act, the film ultimately settles for an amusing ride rather than a modern This is Spinal Tap. It’s funny, and even brilliant at points, but while the film satisfies in its finale, it doesn’t leave a leading impact.
Conner4real (Andy Samberg) is the hottest star in the world, coming off of an acclaimed solo album following his departure from a boy band. With his second album and world tour approaching, Conner faces a growing threat when his friends and fans come to he same conclusion: he actually has no talent. As his tour takes a turn for the disastrous, Conner faces the threat of becoming forgotten, and having to reconnect with those caught in his shadow.
With the character of Conner4real, Samberg has achieved a small wonder: creating a despicable indictment of modern popstars, that’s in a way very tragic, and even relatable. Samberg plays Conner to a point that’s very close to caricature, and while his ridiculous antics continue to cross the brink of believability, it’s the surprising comparisons to modern artists that makes the character so irreverent. Accompanying Samberg is a hefty supporting cast, and while the cameos and smaller roles make up much of the film’s satire, they also distract from the rather thinly written story.
Popstar is most effective where it’s able to relish in its own ridiculousness, but it’s the story that becomes the film’s really villain by the end. The story begins to meander through the second act, and to make up for the generic story, the film begins to make up with easy gags and gross out humor. While the major dip in quality is evident, the film recovers in its end, which gets back to the satirical elements that made the film successful initially.
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is a admirable effort, and while it ultimately squanders it’s potential for greatness to appeal to a wider audience, there are shards of brilliance within. Samberg has successfully made the transition to movie star, and as comedies go, Popstar is one of the more bold and original in recent memory. Grade: B-