The first reviews for the Andy Samberg-starring comedy, “Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping” are in and while the film seems to have received mixed reviews, it’s skewing more to the positive and funny. Directed by Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer, the mockumentary follows Connor4Real (Samberg), a world-famous recording artist and the ups and downs he is currently facing in his career. The story took pointers from concert films from Katy Perry, One Direction and Justin Bieber’s “Never Say Never.”
Indiewire’s David Ehrlich gave the film a B- stating, “‘Popstar,’ as you may have guessed, isn’t much of a story-driven movie, and that’s just fine, as most of the story beats fall flat, and only when the movie really moves into the ridiculous does it transcend its premise and become lastingly funny.”
Owen Gleiberman of Variety suggested that maybe the movie belonged on “Saturday Night Live,” writing, “If ‘Popstar’ had been an SNL Digital Short, the whole thing would have been a musical number, and a couple of Conner’s rap performances are indeed golden.” Adding that the film, “turned out to be a terrific sketch inflated into a movie that overstays its welcome… It longs to be a close-to-the-bone lampoon in the scathing spirit of Christopher Guest, and it has a few amusing moments, but it’s really a predigested one-joke comedy. It’s less an honest satire than an overscaled satirical package.”
“A sharp skewering of Bieber-like stardom,” wrote Frank Scheck from The Hollywood Reporter. “’Popstar’ is filled with the sort of sly jokes whose targets music fans should have no problem recognizing. One of the film’s funniest bits involves Conner’s tie-in with an appliance manufacturer (its representative hilariously played by Maya Rudolph) that results in his music blaring from toasters and ovens, much to their owners’ annoyance.”
Giving it three stars out of four stars, Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers didn’t hate on the comedy. “‘Popstar’ itself is too good-natured to draw blood. It’s freestyle fun all the way,” he says. “Above all, ‘Popstar’ is nonstop party time for fans of the Lonely Island.”
Many critics agree with Gleiberman that the film would have done better as an SNL Digital Short. In a review for The Wrap, Alonso Duralde wrote, “Not that ‘Popstar’ isn’t funny; the Lonely Island’s absurdist wit, which made songs like ‘I’m on a Boat’ and ‘I Just Had Sex’ some of the highlights of Samberg’s tenure on ‘Saturday Night Live,’ remains as potent as ever. But while their singles were perfect for the four minutes of an ‘SNL Digital Short,’ they’re not quite enough to fill 86.”
“Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping” opens in theaters this Friday, June 3.
Watch the trailer below: