A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is a fresh, fun -- and very racy -- musical mockumentary from Saturday Night Live veterans Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, and Jorma Taccone (collectively known as The Lonely Island, a group that has tons of teen appeal). Lots of other SNL alums pop up, too, and there are plenty of celebrity cameos -- as well as lots of sexual innuendo and both partial (bare breasts) and full-frontal nudity (a man exposes his penis to be autographed). The lyrics of the featured songs almost always deal with sex, drugs, and/or violence, and there are some scuffles and other moments of danger played for laughs. Expect frequent swearing (including "f--k," "s--t," and more) and plenty of drinking and pot smoking, as well as a scene of characters doing cocaine.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
As the title, POPSTAR: NEVER STOP NEVER STOPPING would suggest, Conner Friel (Andy Samberg) is the hottest pop star in the country. He starts out as part of a beloved boy-band/rap group. But over time, Conner grows more popular than the rest, causing tension and, later, a band break-up. Now billed as Conner4Real, his first solo album is a massive success -- but all eyes quickly move to the follow-up, which is expected to smash records. But, sadly, given how rarely Conner gets honest feedback from all his "Yes" men, it's hard for him to see how bad it really is.
Is it any good?
It's pure fun to watch a movie in which the actors clearly enjoy being in it, especially Samberg, who taps into all of his cheeky charm. As Conner himself puts it, "Ever since I was born, I was dope." And this hilarious -- and raunchy -- comedy is, too. Building on Samberg's infectious energy, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping pokes fun at pretty much everything -- packaged pop stars, social media, celebrity culture (especially US Weekly-ready romances), EDM, tabloids, entertainment shows, award shows, tour sponsors, friendships -- and even itself. (The celebrities who make cameos -- including Seal, Michael Bolton, Usher, Nas, A$AP Rocky, Questlove, Mariah Carey, and more -- are willingly the butt of the jokes, too.)
The boy-band controversy verges on overlong and not entirely original, which may be the biggest quibble with Popstar. And the raunchiest parts are sometimes the un-funniest, or they go on too long. Still, Popstar has too much fizz to be brought down by these relatively minor complaints.
Talk to your kids about ...
How does the movie portray the music business? Where's the line between branding and personality? What role does sex play in the world of pop music? Why do you think that is?
What's the appeal of over-the-top comedies like this one? Does humor need to revolve around sex, substances, or swearing in order to be funny? Why do you think different types of humor appeal to different audiences?
How does fame impact Conner, his friendships, and his professional development?
- In theaters: June 3, 2016
- On DVD or streaming: September 13, 2016
- Cast: Andy Samberg, Imogen Poots, Maya Rudolph, Bill Hader
- Directors: Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Music and Sing-Along
- Run time: 86 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: some graphic nudity, language throughout, sexual content and drug use
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