The son of "This Is Spinal Tap," "Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping" pokes fun at the current hustle and flow of the music business.
The "Lonely Island" comedy trio — "Saturday Night Live" star Andy Samberg and his two best friends Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer, wryly observe today's star-making machinery.
The guys, who wrote this clever mockumentary, with Taccone and Schaffer directing, have been nominated for Emmys and an Oscar ("Everything Is Awesome" from "The Lego Movie") for their songwriting prowess. They won an Emmy for the most famous SNL digital short song "(Expletive) in a Box."
Samberg ("Brooklyn Nine-Nine") plays Conner4Real, a narcissistic, overindulged rapper whose second album tanks, and sends him into a self-destructive tailspin as he tries to hold on to his celebrity status and lavish lifestyle. He must face harsh truths to get back in the spotlight.
Performances: Samberg excels at playing buffoons, and easily slips into 'that guy' — clueless but demanding.
His buddies play his former Style Boyz bandmates — Taccone as Owen, who still D.J.s for him but his considerable talents are ignored, and Schaffer as Lawrence, the bitter songwriter now living on a farm in Colorado.
The three met in junior high, and obviously have an easy rapport, which translates well to screen.
They enlist many famous singers, SNL alumni and comedians to take part, and they appear to be having a blast in a nonstop parade of celebrity cameos in this ridiculous send-up. The fun is recognizing who's in the film, so no reveals here.
In supporting roles, Tim Meadows plays their manager and Sarah Silverman their publicist, projecting authenticity.
Will Arnett has a funny bit as a TMZ-like host, Maya Rudolph is funny as a corporate rep, as is Bill Hader is a roadie, and Chris Redd is manic energy as Hunter the Hungry, the rap opening act.
What Works: The trio straddles the fine line between silly-smart and silly-stupid, with the humor in equal parts. The jokes come at you rapid-fire, as they have pelted the movie with a never-ending hodge-podge of slapstick, pop-culture spoofs, and sight-gags. Their wordplay is sharp and hilarious.
They get big laughs out of party wolves, pet turtles, excesses of the rich and famous, and the insatiable need to live everything on camera.
The music numbers are outrageously goofy, too. Kudos to the editors who did massive amounts of heavy-lifting with this work.
What Doesn't Work: Like most of the comedies Judd Apatow produces, the vulgarities and profanity is plentiful.
Yet, it's funny on its own merit. Not everything lands, but it's a breezy romp that knows how to entertain its audience.
"Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping"
- Stars: ☆☆☆ 1/2
- Starring: Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, Akiva Schaffer, Imogene Poots, Sarah Silverman, Tim Meadows, Chris Redd and Bill Hader.
- Rated: R for some graphic nudity, language throughout, sexual content and drug use.
- Length: 1:27