Blu-ray Review: Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (Limited Edition Steelbook)



When Andy Samberg joined Saturday Night Live, he immediately stuck out when he teamed with Chris Parnell (Hot Rod) to create the rap sensation “Lazy Sunday.” America quickly began to catch onto Andy as the new Weird Al after he created “Dick In A Box” with Justin Timberlake and “I’m on a Boat” with T-Pain. But Samberg wasn’t working alone on SNL, he had his long time comedy/music partners Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone. Together they were The Lonely Island. While Samberg has gone on to a movie career that includes That’s My Boy and the TV series Brooklyn 99, he didn’t leave his pals behind. He teamed up with them to create their dream project: Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. The movie is a spoof of those pop star documentaries that served as puff pieces on Katy Perry and Justin Bieber.

The Style Boyz were three long time pals who were finally hitting it big with the “Donkey Roll” when creative differences occurred. Most of the difference was that the media only cared about covering the more photogenic Conner Friel (Samberg). Lawrence Dunn (Schaffer) quits in disgust and takes up life as a farmer. Owen Bouchard sticks around and gets pushed back to being the DJ who mainly plays his iPod. Conner transforms into Conner4Real and hits it big with his first solo album Thriller Too. The film picks up with the release of his second album Connquest which doesn’t go over so well at launch. His song “Equal Rights” has him standing up for gay marriage and repeating constantly that he’s straight, though. Nobody cares since at the time of the release, gay marriage is legal in America. The poor record sales lead to Conner4Real trying the same thing as when U2 had their album uploaded to every iPhone in the world. Except he picks something other than an iPhone. Things are falling apart all over as the tour starts half selling arenas. He makes a deal to bring on a new edgy rapper as his opening act. But things go “bad” in that Hunter is taking over the tour as his record is the new sensation. Can Conner really handle a harsh roadbump in his career?

The film has plenty of real rappers talking about Conner4Real including
DJ Khaled, 50 Cent, Danger Mouse, Nas and RZA. They even get Usher, Ringo Starr, Michael Bolton and Paul McCartney to talk about the fake stars. Hard to figure out if a few of them are in on the joke. Samberg calls in a bunch of his SNL and Brooklyn 99 pals to do small roles. Justin Timberlake pops up in an unusual role. The film does a fine send up of today’s popstars that seem to exist more on youtube and gossip shows than on the radio. Did you know you could go the entire summer without hearing the “Old Town Road” song, but you kept hearing about the song from other sources.

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping didn’t do well in the theaters which makes sense in that The Lonely Island projects have been more about watching them on TV or your phone. Watching it at home feels more natural since you can crank up “The Donkey Roll” on your surround sound. The Steelbook makes the movie feel prominent on your shelf like Conner4Real.

The video is 2.35:1 anamorphic. The audio is English 5.1 DTS-HD MA. The sound gets you drawn into the concert scenes. There’s also French and Spanish dubs in case you want to switching up Andy’s voice. There’s also a Descriptive Video Service so you can be told what’s happening on the screen. The movie is subtitled in English, French and Spanish.

Audio Commentary With Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone has the trio digging through everything.

Deleted Scenes (43:30) is practically a second movie of moments sliced away. Joan Cusack as Conner4Real’s mom is golden as she takes us through the band.

Music Videos includes “I’m a Weirdo,” “Equal Rights,” “Mona Lisa,” Bin Laden” and “Legalize It.” They seem to mostly be concert performance.

Gag Reel (3:25) has a lot of people cracking up and muffing their lines. This will break the hearts of children around the world when it’s exposed that Tim Meadows isn’t a one take wonder. They show how you can fake keyboard playing.

Interview Outtakes (6:39) are the stars talking about Conner4Real including Ringo Starr talking trash about Paul McCartney.

Bonus Footage (9:27) includes Conner4Real with Seth Meyers and skateboarding.

How to Donkey Roll (1:11) has the Style Boys teach you their big dance hit.

Frog Jiz (0:42) is pretty rank.

Shooting Hoops (0:58) has him trying to show off his mad basketball skills.

Turn Up the Beef Backstory (0:50) on how an ad for steaks became a hit turns into a member of the Wu Tang talking about the Friends theme song.

Sex Tape (1:05) is a radio show ragging on Conner4Real’s hotel room tape being so lame.

Fun at CMZ (5:33) are other bits involving the spoof of TMZ with Martin Sheen fighting, a sex tape, the death of a turtle. Will Arnett gets to go completely overboard in his version of Harvey Levin.

Shout! Factory presents Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping: Limited Edition Steelbook. Directed by Akiva Schaffer & Jorma Taccone. Screenplay by: Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer & Jorma Taccone. Starring: Tim Meadows, Sarah Silverman, Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer & Jorma Taccone. Rated: R. Running Time: 87 minutes. Released: November 12, 2019.

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