For the most part, “Popstar” is a funny and often raucous satire of the pop star life and modern music business. A mix of “This is Spinal Tap” and “Zoolander,” Andy Samberg creates an engaging enough character to where we want to see where he ends up in the finale. The problem with the film is it completely loses steam in the final half hour, leading up to the big performance. The writers spend a good portion of time anxiously trying to keep the momentum from the first hour.
Samberg is likable and very funny as singer Conner, a former member of a trio boy band whose popularity turned him in to a solo star. With sour grapes and allegiances made, Conner goes on to be a big star and he soon finds out that his new record is receiving bad press and low sales, prompting him to resort to radical lengths to get an audience. What Conner doesn’t know is that his inner clock is ticking and he’s in a world that loves young, sexy, and edgy, and he’s from an era that just doesn’t matter anymore. Emma Stone is great as a Lady Gaga avatar who begins the movie, in her small role, as a friend who almost immediately topples him in popularity.
“Popstar” has a ton of funny lines and good sight gags, in particular Conner arguing with his long lost friend about jealousy as a fan flashes their penis, and once again Tim Meadows is a bonafide scene stealer as Conner’s manager and yes man who has a hilarious monologue in the finale when he’s confronted by rapper Hunter Hungry. “Popstar” is mainly about adversity and growing up, learning that not everything stays the same forever. Conner, as Meadows’ character explains, found fame too young, thus he never took his licks, and never knew what it was like to find failure.
What’s more is that he never figured out that sometimes you can bounce back from failure with more growth and maturity. I wouldn’t put “Popstar” beside “This is Spinal Tap,” but it packs enough laughs and heart to allow for a pleasing experience.