“Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping” tries to work, but it keeps fighting itself. While embracing the strengths of The Lonely Island, the film delves too hard into a slam on Bieber and TMZ. But, it also wants to work as a film ad for the next Lonely Island album. It’s only when we pull back and get to see the dynamic of Connor4Real and his former kid band that we get to see real comedy. Samberg, Taccone and Akiva work best when it’s the three of them having to interact. Every other actor including an underrated Imogen Poots feels like set dressing to create a world in which the trio can play.
The musical parody has always been a tall order. Very rarely do you get “This is Spinal Tap”, but sometimes you get close. Whether it’s the holographic Adam Levine, the gossip hounds or the Anne Frank bit, the material is there to get near Spinal Tap levels. However, the film is too wrapped up in aesthetic value to move too deep into jokes. It also doesn’t help that the Connor character is paper thin. Any attempt to humanize him via his pet turtle Maximus turns into a waste of time.
Tack onto that a late third act attempt that echoes the worst section of “Walk Hard” and you’re left wondering how The Lonely Island botched this film. There’s enough material for it to become a cult classic in a few years. Still, it’s the worst of the Lonely Island theatrical releases. But, that’s what happens when you overreach. I can appreciate the attempts to branch into new subgenres, still it doesn’t create material that leaves me clamoring for more. On top of that, there’s way too many celebrities with bit parts in this film. At times, it started feeling like a Caucasian “CB4”. Not that it’s a bad thing.
- 87 mins