(US - 2016)
Directed by Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone. Written by Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone. Cast: Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, Akiva Schaffer, Sarah Silverman, Tim Meadows, Maya Rudolph, Imogen Poots, Joan Cusack, Chris Redd, Edgar Blackmon, James Buckley, Justin Timberlake, Emma Stone, Will Arnett, Chelsea Peretti, Mike Birbiglia, Eric Andre, Bill Hader, Kevin Nealon, Paul Scheer, Derek Mears, Will Forte, Weird Al Yankovic. (R, 87 mins)
The music mockumentary is best represented by the 1984 classic THIS IS SPINAL TAP, though even Christopher Guest and Rob Reiner have cited the 1978 TV special THE RUTLES: ALL YOU NEED IS CASH as its primary influence. The tradition continued in later Guest projects like A MIGHTY WIND and in the early '90s rap mockumentaries CB4 and FEAR OF A BLACK HAT. The latest project from the Lonely Island comedy team of former SNL star Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and Akiva Schaffer, the brains behind numerous viral SNL Digital Shorts like "Jizz in My Pants" and "Dick in a Box," takes aim at the current pop music scene and does a mostly nice job of completely roasting it. Inspired mostly by Justin Bieber but with a generous helping of Kanye West included, Connor Friel, aka Connor4Real (Samberg) is a global pop culture phenomenon, a pop star and ubiquitous social media and tabloid presenc, about to drop his second album, Connquest, the long-awaited follow-up to his record-shattering solo debut Thriller, Also. It's the most anticipated album of the decade from the one-time member of the chart-topping rap trio The Style Boyz, whose biggest hit "The Donkey Roll" made them superstars before disbanding at the end of the boy band heyday when Connor's increased popularity started to keep bandmates Owen, aka Kid Contact (Taccone), and Lawrence, aka Kid Brain (Schaffer) relegated to the background. When a guest verse on "Turn up the Beef," a hit single from a Katy Perry-like diva (Emma Stone) helped launch Connor4Real's solo career, Kid Contact stayed with him as his DJ while Kid Brain released a flop solo single and moved to Colorado to live a quiet, anonymous life as a farmer and woodcarver.
HOT ROD (directed by Schaffer and starring Samberg and Taccone, but written by Pam Brady) and Taccone-directed MACGRUBER, but both of those found cult followings later on Netflix. The same seems likely for the often very funny POPSTAR: NEVER STOP NEVER STOPPING.