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"Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping" Review

The Lonely Island gang - most notorious for their fake rap SNL Digital Shorts - are back with their first feature film since Hot Rod, the music mockumentary Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping.

Andy Samberg starts as Connor4Real, a Justin Bieber-ish pop singer who started off as part of a rap group, The Style Boyz (played by fellow Islanders and directors Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer), before going solo and hitting big with his first album, Thriller, Also. Now on the verge of the release of his sophomore joint, Connquest, the documentary is meant to record his triumph, but of course it turns into a Spinal Tapesque debacle. Instead of collaborating with his DJ Owen (Taccone), he's written all the lyrics himself (bad call) and worked with a hundred different producers and the resulting album is both stupid and offensive (in a bad way) and critically savaged.

Popstar's targets - marginally talented pop idols surrounded by yes men, living in a bubble divorced from reality; tabloid journalism as embodied by a running TMZ spoof fronted by Will Arnett, etc. - are easy fish-in-a-barrel stuff, but they managed to hit most of the marks. The music spoofs aren't as good as their SNL-era material, but suffice.

Samberg is OK doing his thing, but the surprise MVP is SNL alum Tim Meadows as Connor's long-suffering manager. Meadows has never really had much of a movie career after SNL - The Ladies Man did about as well as It's Pat and Superstar (i.e. not good) - and he's quite good with the material he has here as a man who used to be part of New Jack Swing-era band Tony! Toni! Toné! as the forth Tony with a question mark: Tony! Toni! Toné! Tony? There is also a parade of real musicians playing along with the gag as well as surprise cameos I won't spoil here.

Sweetly raunchy - it is co-produced by Judd Apatow and if you liked the gratuitous penises in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story you'll be happy here, too - and innocuously amusing, Popstar never real pops hard, but it's worth watching for music spoof and Lonely Island fans.

Score: 7/10. Catch it on cable.


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