Parody songs were a passion of mine when I was in college. I played Weird Al albums on repeat, and with the rise of YouTube, my friends and I had access to any and every parody song out there. That’s how we came across The Lonely Island, and our collective love for them is one of the things that kept us chatting after college was over. Jack Sparrow featuring Michael Bolton is a firm favourite in the group, if you’ve never heard it I urge you to go straight to YouTube now to find it. These guys are also responsible for Everything Is Awesome from The Lego Movie! Legends.
Anyway, Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer are back, with Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, a movie shot semi-documentary style as a parody of similar movies by the likes of Justin Bieber, etc. The three guys used to be a famous musical trio known as The Style Boyz, known for their most memorable single ‘Donkey Roll’ which came with a dance just as catchy as Gangnam Style. Conner (Andy Samberg) let the fame get to his head, and disputes tore the trio apart, and that’s when Conner started a solo career and became globally successful.
The tone is set almost immediately. There’s a hologram on stage of Maroon 5’s Adam Levine dry humping another hologram version of himself, while Conner sings his hit single ‘I’m So Humble’. It’s just that crazy. It doesn’t stop at Adam Levine, either. I think it’s funnier to witness it yourself, but there are cameos from a crazy number of musical celebrities in this, mostly playing themselves and telling the camera about how Conner’s music inspired them. Another review I read warned not to look up the cameos, and I can’t stress that enough here. Spotting them is half the fun in this movie!
For my fellow British readers, there are a few jokes here that we just won’t get. I’ve actually been watching Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show religiously so when Conner makes an appearance on his show I couldn’t be more delighted, but most of us won’t see that significance. The one I really didn’t get was the CMZ segment, which I know now after looking it up was a parody of celebrity news site TMZ. Other than that, the laughs don’t stop.
There’s nothing I love more in comedies than the jokes that really push the boundary, where your laugh is half ‘this is hilarious’ and half ‘I don’t know if I should even be laughing about this’. That happened to me a few times, such as when Conner visits Anne Frank’s house. Remember the time Justin Bieber visited? Yup. This might just be worse.
Of course, you can’t have The Lonely Island feature in a movie and not have an amazing soundtrack to go with it. The songs are frequent and hilarious, but a few in particular stand out to me, and I’ve already listened to them far too many times (in private, of course). I’d like to pick out some of my favourite lyrics, but we like to pride ourselves on this blog of being strictly PG-13, so I’ll explain the gist of them instead. There’s a song about equal rights in which Conner frequently reminds everyone he’s not gay, there’s a song calling Mona Lisa an overrated piece of...poo, and of course, a song about a girl wanting to be ‘made love to’ just like the US Government ‘made love to’ Bid Laden.
The plot is predictable of course, and the final third fizzles out a little bit, but the final performance more than makes up for it, especially with the addition of a cameo so amazing that Lonely Island fans everywhere will probably squeal, like I did!