Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (2016)

(On Cable TV, February 2017) Not everyone likes the kind of humour that comedy group The Lonely Island prefers, and movies like Hot Rod or Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (eleven years apart) clearly show it. The best feature of Popstar is, indeed, that it never stops never stopping: it throws so many jokes on-screen than some of them are bound to stick. Celebrity cameos help (including Ed Sheehan, in a third appearance in my single evening of viewing in-between this, pre-Grammy TV shows and A Lego Brickumentary), especially when they’re as ludicrous as telling Justin Timberlake to stop singing, having Seal maimed by wolves or Michael Bolton play an integral part of the conclusion. Andy Samberg makes for a rather good pop-icon hero, but the star here is the script and its willingness to go after today’s music scene in its full insanity. Some moments could be factual in a year from now, but it doesn’t make them any less funny. Some material doesn’t work, or goes on for far longer than necessary. Sometimes, it’s hard to say whether more or less restraints would have been better: The TMZ parody, for instance, is both overacted yet at its best at its most overdone moments. As I said: Humor is subjective, and Popstar’s aggressively absurd style is going to be more polarizing than most. I found it more controlled than Hot Rod, but that may be due to its grandiose subject matter more than anything else. Those with a good understanding of today’s music scene will get more out of Popstar than others, but there are laughs for everyone.

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