Saturday, December 15

Love | Hate: How will The Lonely Island’s upcoming film critique the music industry?

Comedy trio The Lonely Island, known primarily for its music videos, will release its first feature-length film, "Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping," on June 3. (Courtesy of Paper Magazine)

Comedy trio The Lonely Island, known primarily for its music videos, will release its first feature-length film, "Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping," on June 3. (Courtesy of Paper Magazine)

Comedy trio The Lonely Island is stretching their popular music videos into an upcoming full-length film “Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping.” The film, set to premiere June 3, depicts the life of Conner4Real, an egotistical pop star finding a way to climb back into the spotlight after his last album flopped.

But will “Popstar” be a humorous take on the ostentatious music industry or will it wrongly condone an indulgent lifestyle? Daily Bruin senior staffers Gail Acosta and Will Thorne share their takes on the upcoming film.


It’s almost summertime and I can’t wait for the days when I can go to the movies without the looming stress of papers, midterms and finals. At the top of my list of movies to see this summer, besides “Finding Dory,” is The Lonely Island’s “Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping.”

I am not a hard-core fan of The Lonely Island, but their greatest hits like “I Just Had Sex” and “I’m on a Boat” never fail to squeeze a chuckle out of me. When I found out they were creating what is essentially an hour-and-a-half-long version of their music videos, I was ecstatic.

I find value in the trio’s dumb, crude humor – it’s all fun without being pretentious. Based on the trailer, “Popstar” turns the pompous music industry, from its self-absorbed pop stars to ostentatious concerts, into a spectacle of humor.

The trailers shows numerous, perhaps excessive, cameos from celebrities like Sarah Silverman, Questlove and Maya Rudolph among others. But celebrity appearances fall in line with The Lonely Island’s artistic and comedic style; their songs have often featured celebrities including Kendrick Lamar, Billie Joe Armstrong and Pharrell Williams.

The film cleverly uses these appearances to add even more comedy, unlike films like “Entourage” which exploit celebrity cameos for star power and publicity. As Carrie Underwood and Usher praise Conner4Real’s artistic potency, the film reaches another level of delightful ridiculousness. The film is indulgent and nonsensical, but that is exactly what it aims to be.

Gail Acosta


At first, I laughed when I saw the trailer for “Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping.” I couldn’t help myself; Martin Sheen slapping Andy Samberg in the face was too much.

However, on reflection, the trailer and cast announcements of “Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping,” have me more concerned than excited.

My main issue is how similar the film looks to “Entourage,” a film which in my opinion represents the moment 21st century filmmaking hit rock bottom.

“Entourage” was crammed full of filthy, consumerist lucre, with the titular crew partying on boats, in sports cars, in mansions, on more boats, in more sports cars and so on. The movie’s trailer warned audiences of the horrors to come, featuring a full 15 seconds of completely random A-list DJs, singers, actors, American football players, UFC fighters and Warren Buffett flashing up on screen. Why on earth were all these people in the movie? The simple answer is money.

I would have briefly contemplated forgiving “Entourage” for the constant misogyny, partying, pointless cameos and thoroughly detestable characters if it had shown them all to be utterly deplorable and wrong. But it didn’t.

My fear is that with “Popstar,” the same mistake will be made. The warning signs are present in the trailer. At one point Andy Samberg, who plays the film’s pop star Conner4Real, is seen swinging nunchucks in front of a posse of scantily-clad girls, while earlier a list of big names in the music business are thrown together in mockumentary interview style.

I like The Lonely Island and their music videos mocking machismo and the male gaze were blunt and amusing, but the trailer has me worried they’ll fail to show the wrong in Conner4Real’s lavish lifestyle. They have to allow Conner4Real to sink low and be punished for or learn from his errant ways, for the film to convey a message worth going to the theater for.

– William Thorne

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Thorne is the prime director. He was previously the assistant A&E editor for the Theater | Film | Television beat.

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  • Tarpaulin77

    I believe that William Thorne’s take on the movie is so misguided and ridiculous as to be funnier than the trailer. If you don’t get that they are mocking the thing you are worried they are praising, please stop your job as a writer and do something that is less sensitive to your deficiencies of awareness. Such as… anything else.