It seemed like it would be a film bound for greatness. From The Lonely Island (Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone) and Judd Appatow, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping seemed poised to take over the box office in the summer of 2016.
A comedy musical mockumentary about Samberg’s Conner4Real (or Conner Friel) and childhood friends Owen Bouchard and Lawrence Dunn (played by Taccone and Schaffer respectively), the film tells the story of Conner’s rise from the group The Style Boyz and subsequent fall in the limelight after the release of his sophomore solo album. Filled with celebrity cameos from the likes of Akon to Adam Levine, and Michael Bolton to Snoop Dogg, the movie is a laugh riot from start to finish.
However, much like Conner’s second album, the movie flopped.
I don’t know anyone who has seen this movie and disliked it. However, it often seems as if there are only a handful of people who saw this box office bomb.
Yikes – how bad did it do?
With a budget of $20 million, and a box office of $9.5 million, saying that Popstar was a bomb would be an understatement. It didn’t even make back half of its budget.
It unfortunately opened alongside Me Before You and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. Now I don’t know anyone who saw either of those, but apparently they did well. Whereas Popstar, as established, did not.
It finished 8th at the box office on that opening weekend, and did not get an international release, only opening in North America and the United Kingdom.
So, basically myself, my partner, and our three friends were the only people who saw it in theatres.
As of writing, Popstar currently sits at 78% on Rotten Tomatoes. So it’s not as if people don’t like it, people just didn’t see it.
But you can fix that. And while you can’t get in a time machine and go back to the summer of 2016, you can curl up with Connor and his posse on Netflix tonight!
But what makes it a good movie, Megan?
Whoa, calling me out directly. I respect that.
If you like comedies, Popstar really has it all. It’s satirical, vulgar, juvenile, surreal, deadpan, gross, silly, and dumb all at once. There is honestly something for everyone here, and you’ll still be rolling when the next joke lands, and before you know it the movie will be over. Which is a bummer. But then you can just re-watch it!
While the three fellas from The Lonely Island are the stars, it’s the supporting cast that really holds the film together. Joan Cuzak plays Connor’s coke snorting mom who just loves to go on tour, and Tim Meadows is Connor’s manager, Harry Duggins, who steals every scene that he’s in with his earnest delivery. There’s also Sarah Silverman, who is probably the best secondary character in the film as Connor’s deadpan publicist, Paula Klein.
And be honest … when it comes to comedies, have I ever steered you wrong before?
Popstar tries to be a modern day Spinal Tap, and while people may cry blasphemy at me for putting a more recent movie up against a classic, I think that Popstar made me laugh more. Perhaps it’s because its references are more topical, perhaps it’s because I think that Andy Samberg is cute. Regardless, once you start laughing it’s unlikely that you’ll stop.
And while the movie as a whole is hilarious, it would be lost without its soundtrack.
It’s a film by The Lonely Island – of course there are going to be songs!
While their previous film, Hot Rod (which is also fantastic and I know people who dislike this and it kind of breaks my heart) featured no original songs, Popstar makes up for this oversight by having an entire album of songs to go with it. It would be weird if a movie about a popstar didn’t, right?
“He’s writing a song for gay marriage, you know, like it’s not allowed.”
We get a look into Connor’s musical style with clips from songs that he performs with The Style Boyz within the first few minutes of the film. And a Connor4Real jam follows closely behind.
Obviously parodying Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s “Same Love,” Connor’s “Equal Rights” is a song about how people should be allowed to marry who they want. All the while sprinkling subtle and outright lyrics that let the listener know that he is 100% straight (there’s an entire verse where he just lists off “manly” things).
There’s also a song where Connor recounts his lover wanting him to, um, make love to her in a way that is similar to what the American government did to someone very bad. In another he riffs on how the Mona Lisa is overrated, and there’s another song that features Adam Levine where they discuss how humble they are. Mariah Carey identifies strongly with this song, by the way.
Also featured are song songs by The Style Boyz, where Lawrence and Owen get share a bit of the spotlight as well. There is also a Lawrence Dunn solo track where he discusses the various things that he has in his jeep (featuring Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington).
The whole album plays like an original from The Lonely Island, but there’s also a bit of a narrative tucked away in there as we listen to the rise and fall of a popular boy band, and follow the rocky career of its most popular member.
So, this is the part where I ask why you’re still here reading this (which I do appreciate – thanks!) and why you’re not queuing up Popstar right now. Honestly, if you’re looking for a delightfully raunchy comedy, and Brooklyn Nine Nine isn’t doing a good job of satiating your Samberg needs, I strongly suggest giving it a watch if you haven’t already!