‘Popstar’ Review

The Lonely Island’s ‘Popstar’ is a modern-day attempt at Spinal Tap, with less of the humor and more of the lunacy.

‘Popstar’ achieves the rollercoaster lifestyle of a modern-day musician.

Photo courtesy of Steven Zang.

Saturday Night Live alumi Jorma Taccone, Akiva Schaffer and (most notably) Andy Samberg make up the comedy trio “The Lonely Island,” notorious for their digital shorts and the bawdy wordplay that makes them viral-worthy. After being live from New York for almost a decade, the troupe decided that it was time to make their comedic transition to “short” to “feature-length.” The end result? Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping.

Produced by comedy guru Judd Apatow, Popstar follows a fictional pop artist on a declining slope, closely resembling the rational outcome of many contemporary musicians. Singer/rapper Conner Friel (Andy Samberg) leaves behind the likes of his 90s boy-band, The Style Boyz, to pursue a solo career under the alias “Conner4Real.” With a massively-successful first album, Conner4Real is on a poorly-crafted pedestal, with the fame, the fortune, the celebrity girlfriend and the crew to back him up. Nevertheless, with the pressure of his upcoming sophomore attempt, Connquest, Conner falls off his wave of notoriety to learn of the downsides to being a one-man show.

As every other Lonely Island project goes, this mockumentary is ridiculously idiotic and offbeat to the point where it stands as a clever triumph for the trio.  You must mentally strip yourself of any cynicism towards stupidity to understand what makes Popstar as fantastic as it is.

And it is fantastic, beyond my previous expectations. The comedy is sharp-edged, exemplifying the sheer understanding that the performers-gone-filmmakers have for life under a spotlight. The abyss of stardom has its ups and downs, and this summer hit follows each wave of success with scrutiny and absurdity.

Its accuracy is enough to draw in a cameo call-sheet worth name-dropping. For instance, expect hilarious screen time from Mariah Carey, Usher, Emma Stone, Carrie Underwood, Seal, Adam Levine, Pharrell Williams, Snoop Dog, Will Forte, Bill Hader, Sarah Silverman, Ringo Starr, Tim Meadows, Maya Rudolph, Will Arnett, Jimmy Fallon and (a personal favorite of mine) Justin Timberlake. Together, this distinctive collection of A-List personalities adds the right amount of charm and wit to this 86-minute laugh fest.

Popstar was quite the interesting tale, one that will not soon be forgotten,” said Andrew Stahl, both a Hackensack native and a Lonely Island fanatic. “It contains comedy, romance, triumph, sadness and a little bit of saxophone to tie it all together. The movie definitely represents something that we all envy, but only few seldom experience.”

Overall, Popstar stands dead-center on a Venn diagram of quick wit and flat-out ignorance. It stands as a massive force with seemingly low expectations, only to raise our hopes in the long run. Hence, it is safe to say that the Lonely Island will never stop never stopping, officially conquering both small and big screens on a worldwide scale. And the best part: They did it “like a boss.”

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is now playing in movie theaters everywhere! Some local venues include AMC Clifton Commons 16, AMC Essex Green 9 in West Orange and even Bow Tie Bellevue Cinemas 4 in the heart of downtown Montclair. For a list of even more theaters and show-times, visit fandango.com today!

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