Its still a couple of months more before Brooklyn Nine Nine Season 6 premieres in its new home in NBC so as I was checking out the latest posts from Netflix, I stumbled upon 2016 mockumentary Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping and said to myself: Yaaaasss!!! Andy Samberg stylez and never thought twice about watching it. What I got for it in return was a lot of laughter and facepalm moments that I gladly digested.
Synopsis: Childhood friends Conner (Andy Samberg), Owen (Jorma Taccone) and Lawrence (Akiva Schaffer) have been jamming since they were kids and their rhymes are so hot (never mind that they make no sense) it was only a matter of time before they got signed by a label. When they reached their teens and debuted as the Style Boyz, they became so iconic that they inspired legions of pop stars and rappers to pursue music as well. However, fame eventually gets in the way of friendship and Lawrence quits the band leaving Connor to be a solo act while Owen stayed on as his DJ. Things start to unravel when Connor’s success gets to his head. His second solo album tanks and he is forced to deal with fake friends and the future that’s coming to bite him in the a*s.
A lot of people would dismiss Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping as a silly way to spend 87 minutes of your life and they aren’t wrong. Popstar, presented as a mockumentary/parody on the rise, fall and rise again of Connor4Real, is a pretty flimsy off the mill comedy movie that gets its kicks out of juvenile humor, outrageous music and offensive lyrics. Having said all that and at the expense of sounding insensitive to every sector or group that this movie pokes fun at, I must confess to laughing my head off at the antics of real life comedy trio The Lonely Island, made up of Andy Samberg, Akiva Scaffer and Jorma Taccone who have been comedy collaborators they were in junior high.
I loved the movie as much as I loved their first colalboration Hot Rod because even though most the the script seems callous and offensive, they are delivered with complete obliviousness to its context and this is what makes it super funny. Imagine singing a song and rapping about being humble when the lyrics harks off every accomplishment and achievement. Conner4Real also releases a song about being supportive of the LGBT and freedom to love but throughout the entire song, he mentions that he’s not gay more times than one can count. Props go to these three brilliant minds because although the lyrics are ridiculous, the rhymes and the beats are off the hook. And the soundtrack is nothing to scoff at because they even get Adam Levine (I’m so Humble), Pink (Equal Rights) and Michael Bolton (Incredible Thoughts) to collab in all seriousness.
Kudos to the team for getting cameos from legit superstars in the music business to participate in this mockumentary. Imagine the likes of Usher, AKON, 50 Cent, DJ Khaled and countless others professing their love for fictional group Style Boyz and citing them as inspiration. Justin Timberlake also gets to sing as a guitar playing fish, Seal gets savaged by a pack of wolves, and Snoop Dogg gets to cut the rifraff at a fictional music awards show. Just so you get an idea of what type of people got in on the joke.
But most importantly, despite all the outrageousness in this movie, it does talk about friendship about these three main characters. And even though they’re presented as parody personalities, you can’t help but feel an affinity for Connor who basks in people’s approval but lacks the sensitivity to understand his friends. He isn’t mean or malicious, just clueless. I love how he genuinely praises Owen for his DJ-ing skills towards the end and expresses his admiration for his friend not because he wants him to go back on tour with him but simply because he is proud of Owen. While his apology to Lawrence needs a ton of work, I love how Lawrence accepts it with no questions asked just because he’s a genuinely cool guy beneath the hermit-like beard. He said it best when he said: “How can you hate a seven year old?” because Connor’s maturity level is that of a child. And that was the end of the feud. In real life, that’s what real friends are like to and I know a lot of people can relate.
While some would say that Andy Samberg’s humor is pretty standard, I would have to say that I’m a big fan of his characters. Even though they basically have one core personality (childish/oblivious genius), he does it so well and so adorably that I can’t make any complaints. He’s a lot like his SNL predecessor Adam Sandler. They have a signature brand of comedy that you either love or hate (but mostly love because they’re genuinely funny guys).
All in all, I’m a big fan of Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping because it was a ton of fun. Its that simple. Sometimes, that’s all there is to it.