Once a member of boyband The Style Boyz, Conner, rebranding himself Conner4Real (Samberg), embarks on a solo career and tour to promote the release of his new album. With reviews of the album being ‘'mixed' (the only positive review comes from The Onion!) and the concert attendances beginning to drop off, Conner resorts to employing up-and-coming rapper Hunter The Hungry (Chris Redd) to open for him. But as Hunter’s antics take over the tour an increasingly isolated Conner must rediscover his roots…
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aking its cue from Spinal Tap, this mockumentary from directors Schaffer and Taccone (the Lonely Island guys between them have directed MacGruber and Hot Rod, and who also make up the other members of The Style Boyz) put in some Trojan work in making you laugh. The target might be an easy one – the bloated ego and self-importance of today's pop stars (namely Justin Bieber) and the vapidity of the scene – but Popstar takes time out to get other bugbears in its sight: sycophants, the artist-as-brand (Conner's album has a home appliance tie-in), the celebrity couple, and shows like TMZ that love to have a pop for pop's sake.
s expected there’s a roll call of celebs - Pink (who duets on the highlight Equal Rights), Nas, Questlove, Seal, Michael Bolton, Usher, Simon Cowell, Ringo Starr and Mariah Carrey, who confesses that 'Humble' is the one song in Conner's discography that really speaks to her - that line up to make fun of themselves. Justin Timberlake is in the mix too with a cameo as Conner's chef.
t doesn't have it all its own way, though. Like most contemporary mockumentaries Popstar forgets what it's supposed to be doing, offering up scenes where it's impossible to have a documentary crew present. It can get a little too silly to be believable at times, undercutting the 'realism' of the mockumentary approach - the lyrics are just too daft and Conner too far-fetched to garner such a fan base. There could have been more Joan Cusack (as Conner's hard-partying mom) and Bill Hader (as the roadie) too.
ut, boy, does Popstar bust a gut to be entertaining. Every scene, every line, is designed to make one guffaw and while it's impossible for a lot of the gags to work (and some do fall flat), the speed of which the story unfolds (it's fast, giddy and short) ensures that if one joke doesn't work the next one coming a moment later might hit home.
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