Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping | Screen | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

Boys bands, pop rappers and celebrity culture get skewered in this mockumentary

Band of boys: Kiva Schaffer, Andy Samberg and Jorma Taccone
Band of boys: Kiva Schaffer, Andy Samberg and Jorma Taccone
Just because something is low-hanging fruit doesn’t mean it shouldn’t get picked. And so it goes with Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, a mockumentary that takes aim at such broad targets as Justin Beiber, the 24/7 world of celebrity media, today’s factory-formulated pop music and a couple of long-in-the-tooth romantic balladeers.

Popstar tells the oh-so-familiar tale of a former boy-band member who goes solo, hits it big, alienates his former bandmates, “over-reaches creatively,” bottoms out and then — after discovering what really matters and smoking a hella amount of weed — makes a comeback. The comedy is the work of The Lonely Island boys, which would also be a great name for a boy band. But you most likely know them for their SNL short films, like “Lazy Sunday” and “Dick in a Box.” Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer wrote the screenplay and star; Taccone and Schaffer share directing duties.

It’s an affectionate satire that moves briskly. The starring trio of goofballs gets able support from comedy vet Tim Meadows, who plays the band’s manager (and who was once the fourth member of Tony! Toni! Toné!). The jokes range from pratfalls and exposed genitals to unexpected celebrity cameos and the occasional clever observation, like “Nowadays, if you don’t sell out, people will think nobody asked you to.”