Starring: Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, Akiva Schaffer
Director: Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone
Running Time: 86 mins
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is an American film about the life of music superstar Conner4Real, whose reputation is destroyed following the release of a poor new album, leaving him to desperately try to hold onto his celebrity status.
This film was such a pleasant surprise. Contrary to my expectations of a juvenile and dumb comedy, Popstar is a fantastically funny satire of the music business, complete with its own hilarious characters, great performances, and a confident delivery of the mockumentary style, and even though its laugh rate reduces as the film goes on, this is still a hugely entertaining film from start to finish.
In a sense, this film is like This Is Spinal Tap. It’s nowhere near as good, but it’s probably the best music mockumentary behind it. With equally idiotic characters, Popstar is an expertly funny farce, thanks to the writing and performances, but what really makes it tick so well throughout is the directing.
Mockumentaries are very hard to get right, because you’ve got to pull off effective character development in the same fashion as a narrative, whilst also giving the film an extra degree of realism. Coupled with trying to make you laugh, it’s a genre that can be easily boring, but directors Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone do an excellent job of it.
The film’s story is compelling throughout, even if it does follow a somewhat clichéd arc, and the characters work very well. They’re just as zany as the band members from Spinal Tap, but they’ve also got a degree of intelligence and composure that makes them far more interesting than the typical comedy farce, which was great to see.
The other thing that makes this film so enjoyable is the comedy, which is great throughout. The first act in particular is absolutely hilarious, and there are loads of big laughs to enjoy. As the story takes over a little more later on, the hit rate of the comedy goes down, but it remains a crazy and farcical film all the same, and that’s why it’s so entertaining from start to finish.
Finally, I can’t forget the fantastic performances. Along with the brilliant writing poking fun at the music industry as well as providing its own laughs, Andy Samberg is hilarious in the lead role. As annoying and idiotic as his character is, Samberg is hugely charismatic throughout, allowing you to laugh along with his stupidity as well as come to support him when the going gets tough. Based around a Justin Bieber-type popstar, Samberg’s performance fits in perfectly with the film’s satirical comedy, giving the film a very strong comedic atmosphere.
Overall, I was hugely entertained by Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. It starts off with an absolutely hilarious first act, and although it does die down towards the end, the excellent directing of the mockumentary style, along with Andy Samberg’s brilliant central performance, keep it a hugely enjoyable watch from start to finish, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.6.