Following up a No. 1 album titled Thriller, Also, pop superstar Conner4Real (Andy Samberg) releases the much-hyped CONNquest. It turns out to be his Waterloo, rejected by fans (65,000 units in the first week) and loathed by critics (Pitchfork grades it a minus 4, and Rolling Stone awards it a “poop” emoji).
Worse, because of a complicated attempt at making the album available across multiple platforms that include a chain of major appliances, CONNquest also causes a major blackout across the power grid.
That, actually, doesn’t seem all that implausible.
The very funny mock-rockumentary Popstar, which is trailed by the absurb but completely dead-on subtitle Never Stop Never Stopping, follows Conner, a harmless man-boy whose emotional lodestar is his pet turtle, as he tries to get ahead of the news cycle. He doesn’t. He’s dragged under by wardrobe malfunctions and badly staged publicity events (probably best not to find your wolf handler on Yelp. While you’re at it, leave Seal off the guest list).
Cowritten and costarring Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone, Samberg’s partners in the comedy band Lonely Island, Popstar loses some momentum along the way – Conner is basically just a pop Candide, thoughtless, naive and cheerful while bumping into and tripping over obstacles that even (to grab a name from the air) Justin Bieber might be expected to eventually anticipate. There’s nowhere for Samberg to go with the character. On the other hand, nowhere is far enough. There are many, many good jokes, the performers all seem to be enjoying the ridiculous bits offered them (Justin Timberlake plays a personal chef who devotes what culinary genius he has to slicing carrots very carefully) and the songs are both melodically catchy and clever in their abject puerility:
My apple crumble is by far the most crumble-est/ But I act like it tastes bad out of humbleness.
That number is performed with a hologram of Adam Levine.
Opens June 3, rated R