It’s a shame that Popstar came out in 2016 instead of 2011, when The Lonely Island fandom was at its pinnacle. Back then, Andy Samberg could release a new song or Jorma Taccone could pop up on a random episode of SNL and the world would go apeshit. It’s important to realize just how much influence Andy, Jorma and Akiva Schaffer had on the viral video landscape back then, and just how much better it would have been if Pop Star was released around the same time.
Now I don’t mean that in the sense that Popstar is bad or that its outdated, far from it! I mean it because I’m deeply afraid people won’t see this movie, that they’ll see it as some silly Andy Samberg side project and cast it to the perennial unwatched Netflix/HBOGo bin for eternity. It will happen and it is a shame because Popstar is really one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen. I try to not be much for hyperbole but man, this is hilarious and inventive. Every scene explicitly tries to make you laugh, every character carefully crafted to evoke a guffaw or a chuckle from your body. It’s like Airplane! meets Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, a mockumentary of the highest order, with a laugh-per-minute ratio higher than any other movie released in the last 5 years.
Andy Samberg stars as Conner, a former boy bander turned pop star supreme who has forgotten his past friends and partners after achieving his monumental success. Jorma and Akiva play his colleagues, while every other comedic actor you can think of has a bit part or cameo in the film. It’s like Andy Samberg made nice with every A-lister in Hollywood and asked them to star in this film as a thank you. And to no one’s suprise, it works.
But there is something unique to Popstar, more than just fart jokes and slapstick comedy. This movie, very intently, tries to do something new, with each scene being reworked or retinkered in a way that it can effectively parody its subject matter. Andy, Jorma and Akiva clearly realize this is probably the only time the three of them will have a film to call their own again, and that they’re meticulously trying to make every second count in it. Thankfully, these boys pull it off, and in style to boot.