The Lonely Island has been entertaining us with their comedic (if often wildly inappropriate) music for more than a decade. Songs like "I'm On A Boat," "Like a Boss" and "3-Way (The Golden Rule)" have been among the internet's earliest and best viral videos. So it makes sense that the comedy group of Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone would finally make a movie about music (unlike their previous movie, Hot Rod).
Honestly, though, the music mockumentary Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping looked incredibly stupid. Stupid in a way that couldn't possibly make for a good movie, despite the talent behind it.
But somehow the film has exceeded expectations, and the end result is a movie that's not only funny, but also makes some smart comments about today's music industry.
Expecting little more than a dumb comedy, I saw Popstar with my partner in bad movie crime, Sarah Blaskovich.
What did you think? Did you hate it like you thought you would, or did you find yourself singing along with these new Lonely Island jams?
Sarah: I liked Popstar way, way more than I thought I would. The movie is absolutely ludicrous and yet somehow manages to make commentary on the state of music today.
For instance, many of the songs sung by main character Conner4real (Andy Samberg) were absurd. The lyrics were pretty terrible. The beats were boring. But isn't that kind of like the stuff you hear on the radio?
Jokes are often funny because something about them is true. Popstar was funny because it's true.
Britton: I have a horrible confession to make: I've had the lyric "Mona Lisa, you're an overrated piece of s---" in my head all morning.
Sarah: I think many of the songs on Popstar will end up on the radio. How crazy is that: That a movie making fun of pop stars is making music that sounds good enough (or bad enough) that it should be on Top 40 radio?
Britton: I wish I could say you were wrong, but there's a "clean" version of the song "Finest Girl (Bin Laden Song)," in which the thing uttered most is "She said wanted me to f--- her harder than the military f---ed Bin Laden," as if they're totally going to push to have that be a radio cut.
The weird thing is that, while in the theater, I kept thinking, "This song is going on way too long. We get it. It's a dumb song about a terrorist." But listening to it on YouTube just now? I kind of don't want to turn it off. It's not good, but I guess it's catchy.
We joked that maybe you were starting to get better taste in movies the more we see stuff together. But now I'm starting to fear that my taste in culture is actually getting worse. Am I staring into the abyss too long?
I didn't love all of Popstar's jokes, but they sure brought the heat when it came to cameos. It seemed like a Who's Who of music icons, from Usher to Carrie Underwood to RZA to Simon Cowell. Did you have any favorites?
Sarah: OBVIOUSLY JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE WAS MY FAVORITE.
Sorry about that.
Britton: It's OK. Timberlake played a chef, so it was like two of your favorite things rolled into one. I get it.
Sarah: This movie is jammed with cameos. That's one of the most thrilling parts: You really never know who will be on screen next. Mariah Carey was a particular surprise. I loved to see so many Saturday Night Live cast members. And Justin Timberlake's small parts were just so right.
I kept thinking, "This movie must be good if all of these stars agreed to be in it. Right?"
Britton: I dunno, remember all the stars that were in Zoolander 2? Did you even remember that Zoolander 2 existed and came out?
Sarah: Oh, Zoolander 2 was not great.
Popstar was better than Zoolander 2. We can say that with certainty.
Britton: I'm with you there.
One thing that surprised me a bit was that the movie has genuine things to say about the state of the music industry today. Not just how easy it is for a superstar to fall from grace, but there are also very real lines like, "No one cares who writes s---." Which is way too true. Do you ever know who wrote some of your favorite songs, or do you only know who performs them?
Sarah: You're exactly right. Glitzy pop stars outshine the people who helped make them famous: songwriters, producers, managers and more.
Britton: I think the bottom line is that Popstar is better than we expected it to be. That doesn't mean I would call it great (some parts of it were really freaking stupid), but I could see it having a solid fan base.
I think the final question, though, has to be: If you could request a reunion show for any old band (Style Boyz style), who would it be?
I think I'd have to go with DC Talk, because old Christian pop is just how I roll.
Sarah: I'd say N'SYNC. But only if they all have late '90s hair.