‘Popstar’, the Very Underrated and Slyly Incisive Lonely Island Movie

2016 was a very, very bad year no matter how you slice it. In tough times, comedy is often a form of escape that people turn to when they need comforting. With that in mind, we asked our contributors to pick the one piece of comedy in any form that they turn to when they really need cheering up. We’ll be sharing their choices throughout the week in a package we’re calling “The Best Medicine.”

Given the all-consuming awfulness of 2016, it seems sadly appropriate that Popstar, The Lonely Island’s parody of pop star narcissism and white male privilege at its most surreal, flopped as both a movie and a soundtrack album despite being consistently hilarious, surprisingly emotional, and slyly satirical and incisive. Perhaps the movie hit a little too close to home; Conor4Real, the good-looking doofus Andy Samberg plays here is clearly modeled on Justin Bieber, but the single “I’m So Humble” could just as easily be about Donald Trump, whose obliviousness and comic lack of self-awareness rivals Popstar’s lead character.

Popstar doubles as a pitch-perfect parody of American materialism at its delirious extreme. Conor4Real sees everything through the prism of his own monstrous ego. In the earwig “Mona Lisa”, which I may have listened to roughly a million bazillion times, he seems personally offended that despite what Nat King Cole and various other liars previously claimed, Leonardo DaVinci’s masterpiece is actually way ugly. “Should I Move” slyly posits a multi-millionaire deciding to buy a second mansion he doesn’t  as an emotional, inspirational tale of triumph over doubt and adversity while “Equal Rights” takes aim at Liberals who want credit for being progressive and open-minded without actually doing anything beyond pointless gestures designed to serve their ego rather than the public good. Yes, Popstar helped me get through an awful year. Thank God they were not among the string of high-profile deaths that littered this year. I’m going to need all three of the fellas to help get me through the next four years. In fact, none of them are allowed to die until I am snugly in my own grave.

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