It would be easy enough to argue that this is little more than a thin framework on which to hang a bunch of Lonely Island videos, to which my response would be, “And your point is?” A loose faux-documentary structure tells the story of white rapper/megastar Conner4Real (Andy Samberg) as he prepares to release his new album CONNquest, which proves to be far from an instant success. The arc of the narrative focuses on his troubled relationship with his ex-boy-band-mates (co-directors Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer), while also finding plenty of gags built around the pitfalls of TMZ/social media-era celebrity. But while those jokes are unsurprisingly hit-and-miss, and the parade of cameos by music-industry and SNL alums begins to feel endless, Popstar is a blast whenever it can focus on Conner’s catalog of songs. Whether he’s crafting an epic paean to his own humility, or standing up for gay rights while reminding listeners every five seconds that he’s “not gay,” Conner earworms his way into your funny bone as a guy who justifies selling out because “if you don’t sell out, people will think nobody asked you to.” (86 min.).
Director: Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone
Producer: Judd Apatow, Rodney Rothman, Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone and Morgan Sackett
Cast: Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, Akiva Schaffer, Sarah Silverman, Tim Meadows, Maya Rudolph, Joan Cusack, Imogen Poots, Chris Redd, Edgar Blackmon, James Buckley and Bill Hader