By Christian DiMartino
I love parody films… when they’re done right.
Look back at Airplane or Blazing Saddles all of those years ago. They were stupid films, for sure, but they were hilarious. They worked because you could sense inspiration and creativity behind the stupidity. That’s the key to a successful parody. But now you flash forward to today, where we get films like Fifty Shades of Black, and while the subject of that film was completely open to parody, they blew it. Why? It was simply too lazy.
There’s a lot of awful parodies these days. But every so often, one arrives in inspired fashion. We had the insanely underrated They Came Together just two years ago, and now The Lonely Island trio has brought us a treat with Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping.
Now sure one could point fault at Popstar simply because maybe its topic seems to simple to poke at, or that this sort of thing has been done before (such as the legendary This is Spinal Tap). But I’ll be damned if I didn’t laugh my ass off multiple times in its 80 minutes. This is parody done right. Marlon Wayans, take notes.
The Lonely Island trio, in case you were unaware, is a musical group that did stints on SNL. They write parody songs, and dammit, they’re funny (and catchy too. They taught me that it’s not gay when its in a three way, and with a honey in the middle, there’s some leeway). The group consists of former SNL member Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and Akiva Shaffer (the three previously teamed up for Hot Rod a few years ago).
The film is told in a mockumentary style, as This is Spinal Tap was. Samberg, Taccone, and Shaffer play members of a boyband that breaks up. Once they’ve split, the film mostly focuses on Conner (Samberg). Conner soon becomes “Conner4Real,” and we soon see his rise and fall. Taccone is his DJ, Tim Meadows is his manager, Sarah Silverman is his publicist, and many others.
Now you watch a film like Zoolander 2 and you just feel like all of the cameos feel lazy. Here, the cameos, which include Joan Cusack, Emma Stone, Pink, Usher, Michael Bolton, Seal, Weird Al, Bill Hader, Maya Rudolph, and numerous others, are put to great use. There’s some musical talents playing themselves… and looking like total idiots. Genius.
The Lonely Island has provided the soundtrack, as expected, and it’s an outrageous doozy. One of the songs goes something along the lines of, “F**k her like they f**ked Bin Laden.” Where else are you going to hear a song like that? Where else are you going to find Joan Cusack doing blow? Or Seal getting mauled by wolves? Or a penis autograph? This film, that’s where.
This is easily one of the funniest films of the year thus far. I wish I had reviewed in sooner, because it didn’t make a whole lot of money at the box office. Your loss, people. Something original and funny comes along, and we skip it? Like we skipped The Nice Guys a few weeks ago? This is why studios feel the need to make Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies a thing again. They can do it, and it will make money.
We’re letting this happen.