REVIEW: Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (2016)

Theatrical Release Poster - Universal Pictures
Theatrical Release Poster – Universal Pictures

The following is a quick review of Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping.

I tend to really love mockumentaries. I love the idea behind that entire genre. So when I heard the brilliant The Lonely Island guys were doing a mockumentary somewhat inspired by Justin Bieber’s musical/concert documentary Never Say Never, I was as excited as I could possibly be.

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping tells the story of the lead man in the fictional boyband The StyleBoyz, Conner4Real (played by Andy Samberg). In the film, Conner4Real, who has just gone solo, has to deal with his newest album getting terrible reviews, as well as having to get an opening act that may be becoming more popular than Conner is.

There are some really fantastic moments in this mockumentary. The songs are, of course, among the highlights of the film. I especially enjoyed “Mona Lisa;” “I’m So Humble;” and “Equal Rights.” But this is a mockumentary and not a short or a Saturday Night Live sketch, so the hilarious songs aren’t enough.

For me, the funniest joke in the film was in the trailers. The Thirty Seconds to Mars joke was fantastic. While I did enjoy parts of the film, I don’t think Popstar Never Stop Never Stopping actually works as more than a series of sketches.

Some ‘sketches’ really land, and others fall flat. It’s basically just a series of sketches with very small and simple ideas made into a film with a thin plot, and that film’s payoff wasn’t satisfying enough for me. I really thought this was going to be, not one of the best, but one of my favorite films this year.

But while there were some scenes that I did find laugh-out-loud funny, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping didn’t work for me as a full film. I’m hoping that this is a film that I’ll rewatch in the future, and find much funnier – but, for right now, I’m not satisfied.

6.5 out of 10

– Jeffrey Rex

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