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Film / Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

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"Ever since I was born... I was dope."

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is a 2016 Mockumentary film starring The Lonely Island, who also coproduced (with Judd Apatow), directed, wrote the screenplay, and composed the soundtrack.

The mockumentary focuses on Conner4Real (Andy Samberg) an up-and-coming hip-hop artist who is about to launch his second solo album, CONNquest and its subsequent tour. Conner used to be a member of the music group the Style Boyz with his childhood friends, Owen and Lawrence, until he went solo. Owen (Jorma Taccone) went on to be Conner's DJ while Lawrence (Akiva Schaffer) became a farmer in Colorado, and the Style Boyz's manager Harry (Tim Meadows) now represents Conner. The album sales are not what Conner expected. Hilarity Ensues.


This film provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Bright Light: The EDM helmet Conner gets Owen can shine an extremely bright light from the top that's compared to a beacon to space. A quick far shot shows it highly visible from airplane altitudes.
  • Adam Westing: A number of the celebrity cameos have shades of this, such as Mariah Carey talking about how humble she is, after listening to Conner's rap on the same subject, and Nas saying that listening to Conner changed his life.
  • Affectionate Parody: Of Justin Bieber, Concert Movies, and celebrity in general.
  • Amazing Freaking Grace: Played by Will Forte on the bagpipes at the funeral of Maximus.
  • Ascended Fanboy: Usher gets to do the Donkey Roll with the Style Boys at the Poppies.
  • Aside Glance: There's an occasionall gag of more sensible people giving an incredulous look to the side at Conner's actions.
  • Advertisement:
  • Ax-Crazy: Hunter The Hungry
  • Big Blackout: Conner caused a nation wide blackout after having Aquaspin as his sponsor and having his music being played from the appliances.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Between Lawrence and the stage director after Style Boyz's comeback at the Poppies.
  • Blatant Lies: When Owen hears a goat in the middle of their phone call, Lawrence insists that it's his girlfriend and that he's in the middle of sex.
  • Boastful Rap: Parodied, the rap in question is Conner bragging about how humble he is.
  • Break the Haughty: It's practically a subgenre of comedy at this point.
  • Breakup Breakout: invokedHow Conner's career started and the backbone of the plot.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Lawrence naming the strains of weed he harvests:
    Lawrence: Witch's Titty, Aquabutt, Beethoven's Nightmare, Postpartum Depression, Frog Jizz (cue jar of frog jizz)
  • Brick Joke:
    • The loose wolves come back at the literal last second of the film.
    • "Parent Trap".
    • "It was me".
  • Broke the Rating Scale: CONNquest got review scores such as -4 out of a positive 10 (Conner's assuming) and "The Shit Emoji"/ 4 stars.
  • The Cameo: *DEEP BREATH*
  • Catchphrase: Conner has a featured verse on a song which is literally nothing but catchphrases. It instead comes off as a long string of Non Sequiturs.
  • Character Development: Conner gradually learns to be less selfish and egotistical. He patches things up with Laurence and Owen as a result, reuniting the Style Boyz.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • Conner thinks The Onion's satiric positive review of CONNquest is genuine.
    • Equal Rights, a song about legalizing Gay Marriage and supporting Homosexuality... that has Conner repeatedly insist he's not gay and causes Ringo Starr to point out afterwords that Gay Marriage is legal now.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: One of Conner's Vlogs was done after he just did this.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Lawrence's "Things in my Jeep" song.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Seal sports one of these after he got maimed by wolves.
  • Fan Community Nicknames: In-Universe. Conner calls his fans Confidants.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: A realistic example. Conner proposes to Ashley after only dating her for six months, which isn't unheard of in Hollywood.
  • Friend or Idol Decision: Towards the end of the film Conner has to choose between performing by himself or performing with Owen and Lawrence when his performance is cut to three minutes. Parodied in that the stage hand at the Poppies notices Conner looking at his friends meaningfully and narrates his actions to her boss.
  • Groin Attack: Conner has someone on payroll for this, to remind him where he came from.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: Most of the song "Equal Rights".
  • I Ate WHAT?!: Conner served Owen and two of his yes men pancakes made with dog shit. Owen freaked out after that.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: Harry tries to reassure Connor that the "no dick" thing isn't news. The news channel on the backstage TV immediately starts covering it.
  • It Is Pronounced Tropay: Deborah (Maya Rudolph)says that it's actually pronounced "de-BORR-ah".
    Connor: What's the origin of that?
    De-BORR-ah: I believe "Deborah".
  • Jerkass:
    • Conner himself, especially as the tour goes south.
    • Hunter The Hungry, who spends his free time harassing people in the form of "Pranks" and going 40 minutes over on his opening act and refusing to leave, then stealing Conner's sponsorship and entourage. He also sets up the prank that leaves Conner naked onstage.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Hunter makes a fool of himself at the end of the movie, which is what he gets after all the crap he pulled.
  • Laughing at Your Own Jokes: The people at CMZ are very pleased with their shallow mockery at Conner's expense. It sounds somewhere between Mirthless Laughter and Laughing Mad.
  • List Song: "These Are The Things In My Jeep". "Incredible Thoughts" also counts
  • Logo Joke: The theme to the Universal Studios Vanity Plate gets a bass drop.
  • Magical Defibrillator: Zippy's hobby of flatlining has him being revived with one.
  • Meaningful Echo: I'm a Style Boy for life.
  • Morton's Fork: Even The Ditz like Connor can see the inherent problem with being caught naked on stage with all your junk tucked out of view, making it look like you have a Barbie Doll Anatomy birth defect, even through having your junk caught on camera instead is a borderline worse situation:
    Manager: Don't worry, I'm sure nobody saw anything...
    Connor: I wish they had seen something!
  • Mr. Fanservice: Connor invokes this trope, what with being a popstar and all. He's good-looking and has a few shirtless and nude scenes.
  • Mythology Gag: Two of The Lonely Island's most famous guest stars show up during the final number: Micheal Bolton and Justin Timberlake
  • Naked People Are Funny: One of Connor's publicity stunts is trying to do a magic trick on stage. It accidentally ends with him completely naked.
    • The dick provided by producer Judd Apatow that replaces the pair of boobs Conner was about to sign.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • Conner is a clear Justin Bieber parody.
    • Likewise, Hunter the Hungry is a clear Tyler The Creator parody, with a bit of Chance The Rapper thrown in to tie-in with a Hunter being a Justin Beiber expy.
    • Hunter's jackassery at the Poppies is reminiscent of Kanye West's interruption of the VMAs.
    • CONNquest being forced upon people through Aquaspin’s appliances & the ensuing backlash is clearly inspired by U2 & Apple doing the same thing with Songs of Innocence in 2014, albeit with iTunes rather than kitchen appliances.
    • "Incredible Thoughts" is this to "Miracles".
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Spoofed when Conner has Harry get the camera crew to give them a private moment. They're suddenly swarmed by bees which they start fending off with a flamethrower before the queen, who is apparently huge and roaring, arrives and they take her out. The camera crew is then asked if they recorded it and are remind them that they were asked to stop recording.
  • Overly Long Gag: Conner taking forever to admit just how much of "Catch Phrase" was Lawrence's work and not his. (Short answer: all of it.)
  • Product Placement: In-Universe: Conner funds the tour through one with a company called Aquaspin that agrees to put his music in their appliances without telling the customers. It backfires when said deal causes massive blackouts and an even bigger backlash.
  • Running Gag: Naturally given who wrote it.
    • Conner's Perspective Manipulator
    • The cuts to CMZ when Conner does something embarrassing.
    • Lawrence's wood working.
  • Real Name as an Alias: Conner4Real's real name is Conner Friel.
  • Rule of Symbolism: The Pop Music Award that's been treated like an Apple of Discord gets drilled through and turned into a bong that all three Style Boys end up sharing.
  • Secret Test of Character: After Conner becomes paranoid about who he can trust due to Hunter sabotaging him, he arranges one of these by cooking two of his entourage and Owen some pancakes and asking what they think. The entourage claims to like them while Owen is honest with Conner and says they taste like shit. They turn out to be made with dogshit. This ends up backfiring horribly however as Owen's hurt and disgusted that Conner not only didn't trust him but then fed him dogshit and leaves.
  • Shout-Out
    • The title is a reference to the Justin Bieber documentary Never Say Never.
    • Conner leaves a bathroom and says, "Do NOT go in there!", then immediately explains it was a shout-out to Ace Ventura.
    • "Equal Rights" is a take-off on Macklemore's "Same Love."
    • Conner having his DJ Owen wear a light-up robot head while on stage is a nod to Daft Punk. Hunter describes it as "Optimus Prime's dick".
    • A news clip reveals that, after causing a blackout, Barack Obama called Conner a "dumbfuck", after a much publicized candid comment, captured on audio, of Obama calling Kanye West a jackass after the Taylor Swift incident.
    • Snoop Dogg has a show called Surprise Motherfucka
    • Deborah's very casual, laid-back use of the words "my nigger" is reminiscent of how the white Army officer, Collins, delivered it in Idiocracy, which starred Deborah's actress, Maya Rudolph, as the female lead. In here, however, it was delivered by an African-American in response to another black person's use of the word.
  • Spiritual Successor: The movie can be seen as a 21st centure hip-hop update of This Is Spın̈al Tap.
  • Stealing the Credit: Conner claims full authorship to the "Catchphrase Verse" that launched him to stardom, even though Lawrence wrote the whole thing.
  • Stealth Pun: "I'm So Humble" is a Boastful Rap about how unpretentious the singer is. It's a "humble brag."
  • The Stoner: Conner, to the point that he has his own joint roller on the payroll.
    • After quitting the band, Lawrence becomes a farmer in Colorado tending a massive field of marijuana, in many varieties. The same scene also confirms Owen as one. Their smoking together becomes a plot point.
  • Take That!:
  • Toxic Friend Influence: Hunter The Hungry, whose friendship causes Conner to act like a massive dick.
  • Unusual Euphemism: The whole point of the song "Finest Girl".
  • Visual Pun: Seal implies that wolves were the reason he has facial scars. In real life, Seal got those scars from discoid lupus erythematosus which got its name because it was thought to come from a wolf's bite ('lupus' is 'wolf' in Latin)
  • Wacky Marriage Proposal: Conner proposes to Ashley by leading her blindfolded to a field with Seal serenading here and a bunch of wolves, due to Ashley saying she felt a connection to them. Goes horribly wrong leading to Seal getting mauled by the wolves.
  • Wardrobe Malfunction: Conner's quick-change costume gimmick goes wrong and leaves him completely nude on stage. It later turns out to be one of Hunter's pranks.
  • Waxing Lyrical: Conner's eulogy for Maximus the turtle. It starts off sounding poignant, (a line of Psalm 23) until it turns out he's actually quoting "Gangsta's Paradise".
    Conner: As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I take a look at my life and realize there's nothing left.
  • We Need a Distraction: After Conner's nudity incident his publicist suggests he do something else to drive that story out of the news. He decides to propose to his girlfriend.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Happens to Conner twice towards the end of the film: When given the choice between hanging out with his friends after reconciling with them, or doing the Poppies, Conner chooses them with almost no hesitation. The other two convince him to go since they're cool now, but he brings them along; and then has to choose AGAIN when his performance is cut down, giving him time to either do a solo number or perform with them. Naturally, he chooses the latter.
  • Whole Plot Reference: Lampshaded by Owen, who is inspired by The Parent Trap to try and get Conner and Lawrence back together.
    Conner: Did you Parent Trap us?
  • Yes-Man: Conner surrounds himself with sycophants that agree with everything he says, as demonstrated by one clip of him flinging a basketball behind himself, completely missing not just the hoop but the backboard also, and his entourage cheering as if it went straight in.

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