feedingbrett’s review published on Letterboxd:
Although Hot Rod harnessed its idiotic humour to such extravagant proportions that it began to disconnect with me under matured eyes, however, it still possessed that quality that made the entire affair somewhat memorable through ridiculous quotes and absurd gags. This was the experience I expected with Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, where we find The Lonely Island team reunited for another effort that now tackles the clichés of the music industry.
Satirizing the music documentary, the film is filled with a large and impressive collection of talking heads, ranging from Nas to Carrie Underwood to Simon Cowell, they provide a dead-serious historical context of the caucasian rap group, The Style Boyz - a group composed by The Lonely Island members themselves - and detailing the rise and fall of its solo successor, Conner (Andy Samberg).
The concept and subversion of such inspirations are certainly amusing, creating little nuggets that would undoubtedly excite music enthusiasts, however, the execution of its comedic elements set against the traditional, but subverted, narrative arc creates a sort of mismatch or distraction that should have easily gelled together. The Lonely Island’s affinity for the low-brow humour tends to overstay its welcome, dampening the developments depicted onto its characters, of which the film tries to draw some sort of sympathy for the downfalls that had befallen upon their lives. I feel that ‘Popstar’ would have triumphantly succeeded had it chosen to take a more balanced pathway that allowed a greater mix of subtlety and intimate awkwardness that provided respite from the absolute ridiculousness of its execution and narcissism of its leading figure.
The entire thing feels like a prolonged SNL skit, and for that, it worked only in minuscule doses; take for example the TMZ parody or the Equal Rights music video. It is when the film spends far too much time trying to justify and connect with its simplified take of a famed musician that it begins to all fall apart.