“Popstar” was the movie I was most looking forward to this summer after seeing the redband trailer and hearing Samberg and Pete Holmes describe the movie on “You Made it Weird.” So when the Alamo Drafthouse e-mailed their Victory members about a screening with the Lonely Island guys there in person for a Q&A, I was on the page within a minute refreshing and refreshing until I could snag a couple tickets for me and Caitlin*. I’ve loved the guys since their first digital shorts and Caitlin’s been into them for even longer**. I was just hoping the movie would live up to the hype I’d built up for it and that I could think of something interesting to ask in the Q&A.
*He is a nice husband. **I’ve been following this trio since they were posting up self-made videos on their website, and completely fell in love. Here is my favorite Lonely Island video of all time.
It hit every note I’m looking for in a comedy. It’s a pop mockumentary or popumentary as the boys joked in the Q&A where the Lonely Island guys came up as a hip hop trio and now Samberg’s breaking big as a solo artist, but getting caught in the trappings of fame. We won’t spoil it like we do most Hanks movies since it doesn’t come out until June. In broad strokes I’ll just say it is full of more genuinely funny cameos than any movie I can think of* and confidently carries on the tradition of Christopher Guest mockumentaries**. The songs keep the movie moving along and there are some laughs in them, though I don’t know if there are too many break-out singles, but definitely songs I’ll want to hear a bunch more times***.
*There are definitely good cameos, no doubt about that, but I feel like this is a pretty huge statement. I wouldn’t go that far.
**Disagree. There are absolutely Guestian nods, but the power of Christopher Guest is that there’s a sweetness about the buffoons he creates. I didn’t find a whole lot of sweetness here.
***There was one song involving a deceased militant that made me laugh, but the rest was forgettable.
Highlights from the Q&A
- A lot of people asked about the cameos and who they hoped to get but didn’t. They listed Kanye and a few rappers, but as you’ll see, they got pretty much everyone imaginable.
- Someone asked about a certain ’80’s piano rock star (probably not the one you’re thinking) and how they got him to sing a song with them. The best part was that they sent him the first draft, he said it could “be a little more gangster.” They then sent him a super dirty version that he immediately e-mailed back to say he wasn’t comfortable with and they found a middle ground. Thankfully, the guys sang the extra dirty version for us and it was as funny and filthy as advertised.
- One guy asked if MacGruber 2 was coming. Jorma said it’s heavily outlined, but they need to get Will Forte to not be so busy. They then suggested the audience petition to get “Last Man on Earth” canceled so he’s free.
- I got to ask the final question so I asked if they’re going to do any concerts or tour the new songs. There aren’t plans to do it, but they’d like to if they can find time with Samberg so busy with “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.” They then told us to petition to get B99 canceled. And while we’re at it, all Fox shows.
I know I ended up enjoying the movie a lot more than Caitlin, but I was glad we had a lot of laughs and the Q&A was special. I would say the movie was enjoyable, and there were definitely a few laugh-out-loud moments for me. Here’s my issue — at the end of the day, I felt uncomfortable with the points I felt they were trying to make. They had this white trio of rappers whose antagonist was a spoof on Tyler the Creator, they used women as objects in a few different scenes (as well as a man) — and I get that that is the pop industry, but I didn’t feel like they took it far enough to make the point that that’s not a great thing. I guess I maybe wanted to feel like I was walking away with more of a message than just a long, goofy SNL skit about the commodification of everything. I loved many of the guest spots, and I genuinely wish success for Jorma, Akiva & Andy — the Q&A was my favorite part of the whole thing. I’ll always love these guys for giving me so many laughs, and I’ll keep supporting their efforts, but I’m hopeful they use their clout to make statements that are more progressive. Maybe I’m asking too much of a comedy movie, but I feel like we may have been headed in that direction and just didn’t quite reach the finish line.