Childhood friends Conner (Andy Samberg), Owen (Jorma Taccone) and Lawrence (Akiva Schaffer) found fame and fortune after forming the hip-hop group the Style Boyz. Owen and Lawrence faded into the background when frontman Conner left the band to launch a successful solo career. Now, the egotistical singer decides to film a documentary about his life while he’s still on top. When his second album flops, the camera is there to capture his world crashing down.
I’ve always been a big fan of The Lonely Island’s music and digital shorts on Saturday Night Live. They’ve all been memorable and genuinely funny with great characters and comedic moments. The problem with Saturday Night Live sketches is that it isn’t always easy to create a feature length film out of a sketch. Many have tried and and few have actually succeeded.
This film was presented as a mockumentary, chronicling the rise of a man named Conner (Samberg) and his career as a member of the hip-hop group the Style Boyz to a solo-performer named Conner4Real. The film includes a lot of behind the scenes content and some one-on-one interviews with characters and fake celebrity interviews featuring the likes of Mariah Carey, Simon Cowell and Carrie Underwood to name a few.
Conner starts off as a member of Style Boyz along with his friends Owen (Taccone) and Lawrence (Schaffer). But as his popularity begins to rise, the band breaks up, and Conner becomes an oblivious celebrity. He now is surrounded by “yes-men” rendering him unaware of how ridiculous he is. Examples include singing a song about how much of a star he is, how great he is at everything, how he’s a generally fantastic guy and how he’s “so humble.” The sheer ridiculousness of his character, which will surely remind viewers of some of the “stars” of today, was hilarious.
Not only does the film criticize pop stars but also the whole pop star culture as a whole. It also parodies aspects of pop media such as TMZ, the invasiveness of paparazzi, ridiculousness entourages, out-of-control egos and the commercialization of celebrity. Some of this is just so crazy that you’ll have to see it for yourselves.
What really made this film work was the chemistry between Samberg, Taccone and Schaffer. The acting was great, especially their comedic timing. I guess this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise with the three both writing and directing the film. The supporting cast featuring Sarah Silverman as Conner’s publicist and Tim Meadows as Conner’s manager who were also an exceptional addition to the mix. But the best part of the film has to be the songs which are just a culmination of the film’s ridiculousness. Some of them have been featured in the trailers and have such great titles like “I’m So Humble”, “Equal Rights”, and “Mona Lisa.”
From the performances to the smart writing, this film is hilarious. The majority of the comedy just worked and if there was an off chance that something didn’t work, they quickly proceeded to the next act. The film moved at a pretty brisk pace clocking in at 86 minutes.
This is a smart and funny film, full of energy and enthusiasm, with great performances and will be remembered for a long time.
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