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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 music mockumentary film starring The Lonely Island, who also directed (sans Andy Samberg), wrote, and co-produced the film (with Judd Apatow), additionally composing the soundtrack.

A very extreme Affectionate Parody of the music business and modern celebrity as a whole, Popstar focuses on pop-rapper Conner4Real (Samberg). Once a member of a famous rap trio called the Style Boyz alongside childhood friends Owen Bouchard (Jorma Taccone) and Lawrence Dunn (Akiva Schaffer), he found extreme success once he went solo, albeit on less-than-amicable terms.

Now living a reckless, debauchery-laden high life surrounded by an entourage of yes men, fueled by intensely overinflated narcissism, and with his former band members seemingly left in the dust (Owen merely being Conner's background DJ and Lawrence quitting music altogether to live on a farm), Conner launches his second solo album CONNquest — the single most anticipated album of the decade.

Due to a number of reasons, the album sales are not what Conner expected.

Hilarity Ensues as he struggles to keep his celebrity status afloat, trying anything he can to maintain his image — anything except getting back together with the Style Boyz.

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 shot shows it to be perfectly visible from airplane altitudes.
  • Acquired Situational Narcissism: Being The Face of the Style Boyz went to Conner's head, causing him to believe in his own "genius" and leave his friends in the dust while pursuing a solo career—failing to realize that their contributions were crucial to his success.
  • 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.
  • All Just a Dream: The full soundtrack version of "Finest Girl" ends with Conner realizing that the events of the song (him fulfilling a girl's wish to "fuck her like we fucked Bin Laden" and getting a call from the President eagerly requesting details on it) were "just a virtual reality experience".
  • Amazing Freaking Grace: Played by Will Forte on the bagpipes at the funeral of Maximus.
  • Analogy Backfire: While being interviewed on his departure from the band:
    Lawrence: Style Boyz, that's three guys, not two. It doesn't work with two, you know? It's like a tricycle. You take away one of the wheels, what do you got? Nothin'. A bicycle. ...Don't use that.
  • Ascended Fanboy: Usher is revealed to be a superfan of the Style Boyz, and gets to fulfill his longtime wish of doing the Donkey Roll with them at the Poppies.
  • Aside Glance: There's an occasional gag of more sensible people giving an incredulous look to the camera at Conner's actions.
  • Ax-Crazy: Hunter the Hungry.
  • Big Blackout: Conner caused a nationwide 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 with "I'm So Humble"; the rap in question is Conner bragging about how humble he is.
  • Break the Haughty: The main plot is dedicated to Conner's narcissism and idiocy putting him through the wringer of many private and public humiliations, which makes him grow as a person and come to terms with how he has treated those around him.
  • Breakup Breakout: invokedHow Conner's career started and the backbone of the plot.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: In "Me Likey Dat":
    When the girls blow us kisses (Me likey dat)
    And when your mama does our dishes (Me likey dat)
    When the genie grants wishes about girls blowing kisses and your mama doing dishes (Me likey dat)
  • 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 wolves. When Conner tries proposing to Ashley to better his image, Seal and an accompanying string section are present — alongside a bunch of wolves (since they're Ashley's spirit animal). Unfortunately, the music causes the wolves to go rogue and attack everyone. This gag doesn't come back until the literal last second of the film, when Conner's life has seemingly gone back to normal...and a wolf tackles him out of nowhere.
    • The Parent Trap. Owen takes inspiration from the film's setup to try and replicate its "making divorced parents fall back in love" premise in real life with Conner and Lawrence. When Owen later tells Conner after a show that he got Lawrence to come to an afterparty, Conner outright asks him, "Are you trying to Parent Trap me?" Eventually, when the two do make up, Owen excitedly says to himself, "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, out of 4 stars, and a shit emoji.
  • Call to Agriculture: After quitting the music industry, Lawrence takes up marijuana farming.
  • The Cameo: A truly massive number of music artists and celebrities have cameos in this film. These include:
  • Casting Gag: The stage manager who Akiva Schaffer's character Lawrence makes out with happens to be played by Schaffer's wife, Liz Cackowski.
  • 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.
    • He also has one that he uses to sign off vlogs: "Doink-de-doink!"
  • Character Development: Conner gradually learns to be less selfish and egotistical, and patches things up with Lawrence and Owen as a result, reuniting the Style Boyz.
  • Childhood Friends: Conner's relationship with Owen and Lawrence, who were his best friends in elementary school, is contrasted by with his dynamic with the shallower "friends" he picked up after becoming famous. When he devises a Secret Test of Character to determine which of his crew he can trust, Owen proves he's the only one willing to be honest with him.
    Owen: How the fuck could you think I was one of your lackeys, dude? I'm your oldest friend!
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • Conner thinks The Onion's satiric positive review of CONNquest is genuine.
    • "Equal Rights" is 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 already legal now.
  • Demoted to Extra: In-Universe. Owen, once on par with Conner as a member of the Style Boyz, keeps getting hit with it:
    • When the Style Boyz split up, he became Conner's DJ and let him take the center stage alone.
    • After he composed and produced all of the music for Conner's first solo album, Conner nixed all of his suggestions and contributions to the follow-up.
    • Finally, when Hunter joined the tour, he started sharing the spotlight with Conner, pushing Owen even further back, culminating with Conner forcing Owen to wear a helmet on stage so that his face isn't even visible anymore.
  • Description Cut: Interviewed for the documentary, Conner comments that the Style Boyz got noticed because their "lyrics were beautiful and insightful: poetic, even." Cut to footage of the highly vulgar open mic performance that got the group discovered.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The cut song "Should I Move?" plays Conner contemplating buying a new house several blocks from the one he's just moved into as though he's thinking of blowing up a committed relationship to pursue a new lover, complete with his real-estate agent asking how he could leave "her."
  • Dumb Dinos: Alluded to in "Hunter the Hungry It Gonna Eat."
    "Stompin’ through the forest
    Like a retarded tyrannosaurus."
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Lawrence's "Things in my Jeep" song. Three guesses as to what it's about.
  • Expy Coexistence: A brief cameo at the Poppy Awards confirms that Justin Bieber exists alongside Conner, despite Conner being largely a parody of Bieber.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Seal sports one of these after he gets maimed by wolves.
  • Famous, Famous, Fictional: When Conner talks about the rising trend of EDM made by "robots on ecstasy", he lists Daft Punk, a bunch of fictitious DJs with ridiculous names, and Elton John.
  • 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 at the Poppies 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.
  • Fun with Subtitles: Most scenes in clubs or at concerts give characters subtitles so the audience can better understand them over the music. Each one gets a different color, too.
  • Groin Attack: At the start of the film, Conner has someone on payroll exclusively to punch him in the nuts in order to remind him where he came from.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: Exaggerated and parodied in "Equal Rights", which posits itself as a well-intentioned push for gay rights but gets progressively more derailed and less coherent from Conner insisting that he isn't gay himself, even spouting out random things that straight people supposedly like (titties, sports, hot wings, courtside seats, golf, hogies, Lynyrd Skynyrd, etc.) and going out of his way to mention how he shared a bed with 10 beautiful women (all straight) and then had sex with each one.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: At one point, Conner decides to test the honesty of Owen and two of his yes-men by serving them pancakes made with dog shit. Owen is the only one of the three to exhibit actual disgust, and he understandably freaks out when Conner reveals the truth.
  • Innocent Bigot: In the deleted scene around "Equal Rights," Paula implies that this is the case with Conner.
    Paula: You know, Conner's heart is so in the right place, and I think it's such a great social message, maybe a little bit muddied by his rampant gay paranoia.
  • 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.
    • When Hunter goes 30 minutes over in his set, Harry reassures Connor that he will be done soon. Hunter then immediately shouts that he is never going to leave the stage.
  • It's Been Done: In a deleted scene, Eddie, one of Conner's sycophants, comes up with an idea to sell more copies of CONNquest by burning the album onto "a million CDs" and making them available in a brick-and-mortar store that also sells other people's albums. When Owen and Harry point out that that's just a record store, he insists that his concept is instead "the Internet, but in real life."
  • 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 ends up going 40 minutes over on his opening act and refusing to leave, and then stealing Conner's sponsorship and entourage. He also sets up the prank that leaves Conner naked onstage.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Deep beneath Conner's many layers of thoughtlessness, selfishness and Acquired Situational Narcissism lies a guy who loves his friends and doesn't look back after learning to value them.
  • 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.
  • Living Prop: Conner's PA Sarah. All she does in scenes where she appears is stare at her phone, take drugs or eat, and doesn't have a single line in the entire movie.
  • Logo Joke: The theme to the Universal Studios Vanity Plate has a bass drop halfway through, and turns into a trap remix.
  • Magical Defibrillator: Zippy's hobby of flatlining has him being revived with one.
  • Manchild: Like many celebrities who grew up in the limelight, Conner never really got the chance to face adversity or otherwise learn how life works.
  • Metaphorgotten: The basis of "Finest Girl", in which Conner recounts meeting a girl who wanted him to fuck her harder than the American military fucked Osama bin Laden, and insists on dragging out the analogy even as Conner comments on how it starts making less and less sense as it gets more specific.
  • Mona Lisa Smile: Conner's song "Mona Lisa" parodies songs (such as Nat King Cole's "Mona Lisa") that pay tribute to the historical artwork by instead having Conner trash the painting:
    Mona Lisa, you're an overrated piece of shit
    With your terrible style and your dead shark eyes
    And a smirk like you're hiding a dick (What the fuck is this garbage?)
    Mona Lisa, the original basic bitch
    Traveled thousands of miles to see your beautiful smile
    Talk about a bait and switch, you ugly
  • Morton's Fork: Even a ditz like Conner 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 played by Andy Samberg, receiving 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.
    • The lyrics to "Me Likey Dat" describe the Style Boyz attending a party naked.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • Conner is a clear Justin Bieber parody.
    • Likewise, Hunter the Hungry is a parody of Tyler, the Creator's 2011 shock-rap era, with a bit of Chance the Rapper thrown in.
    • Hunter's jackassery at the Poppies is reminiscent of Kanye West's interruption of the 2009 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.
    • As far as Conner's songs go, "Equal Rights" has been largely interpreted as a send-up of Macklemore's "Same Love", and "Incredible Thoughts" is likely this to Insane Clown Posse's "Miracles".
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Parodied 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 they remind them that they were asked to stop recording.
    Conner & Harry: Aw, fuck!
  • Overly Long Gag: Conner taking forever to admit just how much of the "Catchphrase verse" was Lawrence's work and not his. (Short answer: all of it.)
  • Pretentious Pronunciation: 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".
  • 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.
  • Punny Name: Ash(ley) Wednesday.
  • 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 Boyz 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 Owen and two of his entourage 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 quits.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Signing-Off Catchphrase: Conner signs off his vlogs with "Doink-de-doink!"
  • Softer and Slower Cover: "Ashley Wednesday," the song Seal sings during Conner's proposal, is just a more flattering rewrite of "Mona Lisa."
  • The Something Song: The Either/Or Title of "Finest Girl" is "Bin Laden Song", which is a whole lot more descriptive.
  • Sophomore Slump: In-Universe, everything Connor4Real could do to make it happen, he did.
  • Stealing the Credit: The bad blood between Conner and Lawrence was caused by Conner claiming full authorship to the "Catchphrase Verse" that launched him to stardom, even though Lawrence wrote the whole thing, and even restating this while accepting a Poppy Award for it with Lawrence in attendance.
  • 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.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: Conner is quick to realize that Owen is trying to "Parent Trap" him and Lawrence, never mind that Owen only got the idea because he happened to catch the "obscure" movie on TV.
  • Take That!:
  • Too Much Information: As a sign of how oversharing Conner gets with his fans, we see a vlog of him drowsy in bed announcing that he's just finished masturbating.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: Hunter the Hungry, whose friendship causes Conner to act like a massive dick.
  • True Art Is Incomprehensible: Parodied with "Incredible Thoughts," which is the Style Boyz' career-rejuvenating quirky work. Its lyrics are taken from journal entries written by Lawrence while implicitly high on his own marijuana, and the rest of the former Style Boyz are just as high when they put the song together. The result isn't much more perceptive than an average stoner conversation, but is framed as deep and profound.
  • Unusual Euphemism: The whole point of the song "Finest Girl", which revolves around the girl in question wanting Conner to "fuck her harder than the military fucked Bin Laden", with a great deal of terrorism-based sex metaphors entailed.
  • Visual Pun: Seal implies that wolves were the reason he has facial scars. In real life, he 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. This goes horribly wrong and leads 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 (with a line of Psalm 23), until it turns out he's actually quoting the opening of "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. It doesn't go well.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Owen is furious that Connor tricked him into taking part in his Secret Test of Character, pointing out that he's Connor's oldest friend so Connor should already be able to trust him to be honest.
  • 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 attempting a no-look basketball shot over his back, completely missing not just the hoop but the backboard also, and his entourage cheering and telling him it went in.


Video Example(s):


Popstar - Equal Rights

"Equal Rights" is a song about legalizing gay marriage and supporting homosexuality... that has Conner repeatedly insist he's not gay.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (14 votes)

Example of:

Main / HaveIMentionedIAmHeterosexualToday

Media sources: