Directed by Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone
Though it’s not a true-to-form mockumentary, and does slip into a truer narrative style when it’s convenient, “Popstar” is a biting satire of the music industry and just an all-around freakin’ hysterical movie. I had doubts, for sure, but seeing it made me forget my worries. The Lonely Island’s first feature film is a complete comedy success.
After the breakup of the sensational pop group The Style Boyz, Conner4Real (Andy Samberg) makes it big alongside his DJ Kid Owen (Jorma Taccone), who mostly just stands in the background playing Conner’s music from an iPod. No matter, at least he has it better than The Style Boyz’ third member, Lawrence (Akiva Schaffer), who quits music altogether to become a farmer in Colorado. But celebrity doesn’t come easy to the small-town prodigy Conner. He surrounds himself with a lot of people, not all of them healthy for his ego. As he battles with the ups and downs of fame, he’ll begin to question whether popstardom is the life he wants in the first place.
A veritable cornucopia of cameos, “Popstar” boasts nearly 30 celebrity appearances, or an average of one every three minutes. But it’s the trio of The Lonely Island, playing The Style Boyz, who make “Popstar” a smash hit. Andy Samberg is a star on his way to legendary. But like their characters, the pair of Taccone & Schaffer (who also co-directed) are the real unsung heroes. They don’t have the names, but they have all the talent. And their scenes together (which, considering Lawrence’s new agricultural hobby, are not frequent enough) are a comedy goldmine. “Popstar” is absurd in all the right ways. The laughs you laugh will be laughed later. It’s been nearly six hours and I’m still humming the sick beat dropped in “I’m So Humble” and laughing at a scene that had Will Arnett [update: it’s been a week and “I’m So Humble” is still stuck in my head]. This type of comedy isn’t for everyone. If you’ve never liked “SNL,” not even in 2008 when it was really good, you won’t dig this. If “Hot Rod” didn’t make you laugh even once, skip “Popstar.” But this is better than “Hot Rod.” And it’s not, despite reviews that might suggest it, just a drawn out “SNL” skit. That was my fear, too. No. At only 90 minutes, “Popstar” never drags. In fact, I was left wanting more. Enough that I’m determined to see it again before it leaves theaters. With “Popstar,” laughter is music to the ears.