It’s easy to see why former SNL player Andy Samberg might rub some people the wrong way: he behaves a lot like the class clown who never grew up. Younger viewers seem to like this; older ones, not so much. Speaking as an older viewer, I don’t mind the arrested-development act. In fact, it helped me tolerate — even enjoy — Samberg’s raunchy new comedy, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping.
Concocted by Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone (who direct and co-star and, with Samberg, make up the comedy/music trio The Lonely Island) and Samberg, it plays as a mockumentary about a fictional former boy band member (Samberg) gone successfully solo, and the chaos that ensues when his newest album tanks.
Suffice to say the easily offended would probably take pitchforks to the film, what with the more-than-suggestive lyrics in many of the songs, the joint-smoking and bong-using, and the single scene of graphic nudity in which Samberg signs an unseen dude’s stuff. And at one point we also get to see what Samberg does with this own stuff in order to fit into a concert costume.
But, for me, anyway, there was more than enough creativity and clean comedy to compensate for all the naughty bits. The trio’s very clever when it comes to the music — the song referencing Bin Laden is especially, and hilariously, crude. The film’s highlight, musically and otherwise, comes at the end, when the trio reunites at an awards show, and gets a musical assist from the the likes of Michael Bolton (yes, he’s still alive).
I also thoroughly enjoyed the film’s making fun of the celebrity news show TMZ, with Will Arnett and Samberg’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine co-star Chelsea Peretti, among others, hilariously skewering that paparazzi program’s ridiculous casual-conversation approach to celebrity gossip. And speaking of celebrities, myriad musical artists appear as themselves — including QuestLove, Pink, Pharrell Williams, Adam Levine — to gush over Samberg.
The trio also populates it with a host of ex-SNL performers (including Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon), who all prove funny. Of them, Tim Meadows gets the most to do as Samberg’s manager, and makes the hilarious most of it. The second funniest person here, aside from Samberg, would be Sarah Silverman, who earns quite a number of laughs — most of them, surprisingly, by not being her typically profane self. – [DVD]
DVD Release Date: 9/13/16