Movie Review: Andy Samberg in 'Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping'

Prom left: Tim Meadows, James Buckley, Andy Samberg, Chris Redd and Jorma Taccone in "Popstar."

Like Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story and Spinal Tap, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is a high-larious send-up of the music industry, as seen through the comic lens of Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone, two thirds of the band the Lonely Island, whose frontman Andy Samberg plays the movie's lead.

As Conner, Samberg skewers the Justin Bieber generation of inane pop singers. Famous for his short-form music parodies on Saturday Night Live, Samberg goes the distance in this breakout performance for the Emmy-winning co-star of Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

Conner, Owen (Taccone) and Lawrence (Schaffer) get their start as the Style Boyz, a Beastie Boys-influenced hip-hop trio. Quickly, they break up and Connor goes solo. His first album is a smash, but then he encounters the dreaded sophomore slump. Fickle fans turn their attention to brash rapper Hunter the Hungry (Chris Redd), who joins Connor on tour. 

It's pretty much downhill from there, with Connor literally getting exposed on stage. Owen stays in the band as DJ, but the disgruntled Lawrence repairs to a farm in Colorado where he grows some of the state's finest legal herbs. Several efforts to reunite fall flat, but the third time's a charm. When the trio gets back together at the Poppies, all's well again in the world of pop.

Feel-good maybe, but mostly lots of laughs. There's a dick joke for the ages, numerous parodies of TMZ, several memorable songs ("Legalize It" runs overs the credits), a pet turtle and countless cameos (Snoop Dogg, Carrie Underwood, Nas, Questlove, Usher, 50 Cent, Mariah Carey, Ringo Starr, Adam Levine, Michael Bolton, Kevin Nealum, Will Arnett, Bill Hader, Seal, RZA, Pharrell Williams, T.I., Jimmy Fallon, Martin Sheen and Weird Al Yankovic). Tim Meadows (also in Walk Hard) and Sarah Silverman are spot-on as his manager and agent, respectively.

A few blunts are smoked and lines snorted, but the big stoner moment comes when Lawrence unveils his master garden. The joke may be on Colorado, but clearly Samberg and his co-writers Taccone and Schaffer know what time it is.

Popstar is currently in theaters.

Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.