Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is a 2016 American mockumentary comedy film directed by Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone and written, produced by and starring Andy Samberg, Schaffer and Taccone. Also produced by Judd Apatow, it co-stars Sarah Silverman, Tim Meadows, Imogen Poots, Joan Cusack, and Maya Rudolph.
|Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping|
Theatrical release poster
|Music by||Matthew Compton|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Box office||$9.6 million|
The film was released on June 3, 2016 by Universal Pictures and despite receiving positive reviews from critics, the film grossed just $9 million against a budget of $20 million.
Told in the form of a musical documentary, Conner Friel (Andy Samberg) is a musical prodigy at an early age, and he forms a rap group, The Style Boyz, with his childhood friends Lawrence (Akiva Schaffer) and Owen (Jorma Taccone). They almost instantly gain fame in the music industry, inspiring many of today's musicians. However, failing to receive credit for writing Conner's guest verse on the Poppy-winning single "Turn Up the Beef", Lawrence leaves.
After the Style Boyz disband, Conner becomes a solo act, taking on the name "Conner4Real", with Owen as his DJ. Lawrence begins farming in Colorado after a failed attempt at going solo. Conner's debut album, Thriller, Also, rockets to the top of the charts and Conner's fame increases. In 2015, Conner releases his sophomore album, Connquest, which receives terrible reviews due to Conner using hundreds of producers rather than Owen's beats. With sales surprisingly low, Conner's manager, Harry (Tim Meadows), suggests having Aquaspin, a manufacturer that makes home appliances, sponsor the tour. The company's appliances begin playing Conner's songs when in use, causing a nationwide power outage that generates a wave of backlash among Conner's fans.
Conner begins his album tour, but the shows do not sell as well as he had hoped. Harry suggests they hire hip-hop artist Hunter the Hungry (Chris Redd) as an opening act, and the ticket sales begin to rise. Conner starts to add new gimmicks to his act, including a robotic mask for Owen, publicizing his relationship with actress Ashley Wednesday (Imogen Poots), and a stage trick where he changes costumes in seconds behind a curtain. The trick is seemingly botched in Nashville, when Conner becomes naked mid-concert, thus becoming the subject of mockery.
Conner's publicist, Paula (Sarah Silverman), suggests he pull another publicity stunt to deflect attention from his humiliation. Conner decides to propose to Ashley on live TV, with a display including a number of trained wolves and a performance by Seal. The music agitates the wolves and they break loose, mauling Seal and the attendees. The backlash against Conner grows, and Ashley breaks up with him and starts dating Seal, who sues Conner for his injuries.
Owen, worried about the declining quality of his friend's music, sets up a meeting between him, Conner, and Lawrence. The reunion ends poorly when Conner refuses to acknowledge that Lawrence wrote the track that launched his career. Despite Conner's poor reputation, The Tonight Show agrees to book him on an episode. Jimmy Fallon suddenly invites Conner to perform the Style Boyz' hit song "Donkey Roll" along with Owen, which is received well by the crowd despite Conner's reluctance.
As the tour progresses, Hunter begins to overshadow Conner, selling more records than him and dragging out his act before Conner's show. At a concert, Hunter announces that he will perform as long as possible, causing Conner to rush the stage. A brawl ensues when Hunter quietly admits that he orchestrated Conner's wardrobe malfunction. Conner demands that Harry let Hunter go and fires Harry after finding out that he has signed Hunter. Connquest is later knocked off the charts and Aquaspin decides to pull their sponsorship. The remainder of the tour is cancelled, and Owen decides to leave the team when Conner questions his loyalty. After his beloved pet turtle dies, Conner sinks into a depression and moves into his mother's house. He begins drinking heavily and starts selling crude horse drawings online.
Paula forces Conner to leave the house and takes him to a club featuring Owen. Owen's music and production are strong, though his singing is subpar. Conner and Owen reconcile and decide to finally make amends with Lawrence. Conner gives Lawrence his Poppy and apologizes, acknowledging Lawrence's contribution to his music. Conner and Owen discover that Lawrence owns a giant marijuana farm and a music studio in his farmhouse. As the three collaborate in Lawrence's studio, Conner receives news from Paula that a six-minute slot has opened for Conner to perform at the Poppy Music Awards, and with encouragement from his friends, he decides to reunite The Style Boyz.
At the Poppys, Hunter humiliates himself after arguing with Mariah Carey on stage and Harry quits as his manager after being insulted by him. Conner reconciles with Harry and later finds out that the six-minute slot has been shortened to three minutes, forcing him to perform either a Conner4Real song or a Style Boyz song. Conner decides to perform The Style Boyz's new song, "Incredible Thoughts" featuring Michael Bolton. The film ends with Conner reflecting on the lessons he has learned and the value of holding onto relationships after reaching stardom, and introduces a new baby turtle named Maximus II.
- Andy Samberg as Conner "Kid Conner" Friel / Conner4Real
- Akiva Schaffer as Lawrence "Kid Brain" Dunn, Conner's former bandmate and songwriter who became a farmer following the breakup
- Jorma Taccone as Owen "Kid Contact" Bouchard, Conner's former bandmate and current DJ
- Sarah Silverman as Paula Klein, Conner's publicist
- Tim Meadows as Harry Duggins, Conner's manager
- Ashley Moore as Sarah, Conner's personal assistant
- Bill Hader as Zippy, Conner's roadie
- Chelsea Peretti as Brunette CMZ Reporter
- Chris Redd as Hunter the Hungry
- Emma Stone as Claudia Cantrell (uncredited)
- Eric André as Dreadlocked CMZ Reporter
- Imogen Poots as Ashley Wednesday, Conner's girlfriend
- James Buckley as Sponge, a member of Conner's entourage
- Joan Cusack as Tilly, Conner's mother
- Joanna Newsom as Steam Punk Doctor
- Justin Timberlake as Tyrus Quash, Conner's chef (uncredited)
- Kevin Nealon as Gary Sikes (Label Photographer)
- Maya Rudolph as Deborah
- Mike Birbiglia as Blonde CMZ Reporter
- "Weird Al" Yankovic as Hammerleg Lead Singer
- Will Arnett as Main CMZ Reporter
- Will Forte as Conner's bagpipe player
Cameos as themselves
- Adam Levine
- Michael Bolton
- Big Boy
- Mariah Carey
- 50 Cent
- Simon Cowell
- Snoop Dogg
- Jimmy Fallon
- Seth Meyers (deleted scenes)
- Arcade Fire
- Steve Higgins
- Walter Jones
- DJ Khaled
- Mario Lopez
- Danger Mouse
- A$AP Rocky
- The Roots
- Martin Sheen
- Ringo Starr
- Carrie Underwood
- Pharrell Williams
The film was released in the United States on June 3, 2016, and in the UK on August 26, 2016 by Universal Pictures. It did not get an international release
The movie was massively advertised on YouTube the month of its release date. On May 10, 2016, Samberg made an appearance on NBC's The Voice in character as Conner4real to perform "I'm So Humble", alongside judge Adam Levine, and give answers to contestants in a humorous Q&A session.
Samberg then made a guest appearance on the season finale of Saturday Night Live, on May 21, 2016. Promoted as a new SNL Digital Short, he appeared in character as Conner4real and debuted a song from the movie ("Finest Girl"). Taccone and Schaffer received guest writing credits for the episode.
|Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping|
|Soundtrack album by The Lonely Island|
|Released||June 3, 2016|
|The Lonely Island chronology|
|1.||"I'm So Humble" (featuring Adam Levine)||Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone, Can Canatan, Al Hoffman & John Klenner||Stress||2:33|
|2.||"Hot New Single (Dialogue)"||0:12|
|3.||"Equal Rights" (featuring P!nk)||Samberg, Schaffer, Taccone, Raphael Judrin, Pierre-Antoine Melki & Yoan Chirescu||
|4.||"Turn Up the Beef" (featuring Emma Stone)||Samberg, Schaffer, Taccone, Michael Woods, Kevin White & B. Osipenko||Woods||2:03|
|5.||"Finest Girl (Bin Laden Song)"||Samberg, Schaffer, Taccone, Woods, White & Nash Overstreet||Woods||2:31|
|6.||"Mona Lisa"||Samberg, Schaffer, Taccone, Khari Cain & Brandon Bell||2:38|
|7.||"Are or Aren't? (Dialogue)"||0:13|
|8.||"Hunter the Hungry Is Gon’ Eat" (featuring Chris Redd)||Samberg, Schaffer, Taccone & Jamil Pierre||Deputy||2:03|
|9.||"Should I Move?" (featuring Akon)||Samberg, Schaffer, Taccone & Nathaniel Motte||Motte||2:20|
|10.||"2 Banditos" (featuring Chris Redd)||Samberg, Schaffer, Taccone, Justin Franks, Tamir Muskat, Ori Kaplan & Tomer Yosef||DJ Frank E||1:56|
|11.||"Things in My Jeep" (featuring Linkin Park)||Samberg, Schaffer, Taccone, Derek Allen & Maestro Harrell||Maestro Harrell||2:06|
|12.||"Kill This Music (Dialogue)"||0:06|
|13.||"Ashley Wednesday" (featuring Seal)||Samberg, Schaffer, Taccone, Cain & Bell||
|14.||"Fuck Off"||Samberg, Schaffer, Andre Davidson, Sean Davidson, Jordan Suecof & Alex Delicata||
|15.||"Donkey Roll"||Samberg, Schaffer, Taccone & Canatan||Stress||1:23|
|16.||"Trip to Spain (Dialogue)"||0:21|
|17.||"Ibitha"||Samberg, Schaffer, Taccone, R. Witherspoon Jr. & Dallas Koehlke||DallasK||1:40|
|18.||"Owen's Song"||Samberg, Schaffer, Taccone & Greg Kurstin||Kurstin||1:38|
|19.||"What Was That Beat? (Dialogue)"||0:16|
|20.||"Sick Glenda"||Samberg, Schaffer, Taccone, Scott Jung & Mike Baxter||CHOPS||1:00|
|21.||"Incredible Thoughts" (featuring Michael Bolton & Justin Timberlake (credited as Mr. Fish))||Samberg, Schaffer, Taccone, Tim Sommers & Jeremy Dussolliet||Kinetics & One Love||2:56|
|22.||"Me Likey Dat"||Samberg, Schaffer, Taccone, Jung & Baxter||CHOPS||1:06|
|23.||"Legalize It"||Samberg, Schaffer, Taccone & Jacob Plant||Plant||2:52|
|24.||"I'm a Weirdo"||Samberg, Schaffer, Taccone & Sultan Banks||Banks||1:51|
|25.||"Karate Guy"||Samberg, Schaffer, Taccone, August Alsina, Candace Curry, Ralph Jeanty, Nicodemo Lalli, Sean McMillian, Kevin Price & Keyiara Sallie||
|26.||"Rock Roll Skate"||Samberg, Schaffer, Taccone||1:56|
|27.||"Hey Ya Ho" (featuring Chris Redd)||Samberg, Schaffer, Taccone, Jeremy Mcarthur & Andrew Papaleo||Arthur McArthur||1:25|
|28.||"Maximus"||Samberg, Schaffer, Taccone||2:22|
|Canadian Albums (Billboard)||74|
|US Billboard 200||69|
|US Top Comedy Albums (Billboard)||1|
|US Top Rap Albums (Billboard)||6|
|US Soundtrack Albums (Billboard)||3|
In the United States, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping opened on June 3, 2016, alongside Me Before You and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows and was expected to gross around $7 million from 2,311 theaters in its opening weekend. The film grossed $322,000 from its Thursday previews and $1.8 million on its first day. In its opening weekend, the film grossed $4.6 million and finishing 8th at the box office. The film was a box office bomb, grossing just $9.5 million against its $20 million budget.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 78% based on 154 reviews, with an average rating of 6.7/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping updates the rock mockumentary for the 21st century mainstream – and hits many of its low-hanging targets with side-splitting impact." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 68 out of 100, based on 43 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.
Vince Mancini of Uproxx gave the film a positive review, saying: "It's as stupid as it is relevant, and that layering of humor styles — insightful satire, no-holds-barred vulgarity, irresistible juvenilia, surreal pop art, timeless deadpan — are Popstar‘s hallmark. It's smart, dumb, silly, and gross in all the right ways. I loved it." David Palmer of The Reel Deal gave the film 8/10, calling it the best comedy of 2016 and praised the songs. Ignatiy Vishnevetsky of The A.V. Club wrote: "No music mockumentary has really managed to reproduce This Is Spinal Tap's comic mojo, but Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping gets closer than most to that subgenre-defining comedy's mix of the dead-on and the over-the-top, even if it tends to go for quantity over quality."
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