Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

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Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
Popstar Lonely Island.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Produced by
Written by
  • Andy Samberg
  • Akiva Schaffer
  • Jorma Taccone
Music byMatthew Compton
CinematographyBrandon Trost
Edited by
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • May 24, 2016 (2016-05-24) (New York City)
  • June 3, 2016 (2016-06-03) (United States)
Running time
87 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$20 million[2]
Box office$9.7 million[3]

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is a 2016 American mockumentary musical comedy film directed by Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone and written, produced by and starring Andy Samberg, Schaffer, and Taccone. Also produced by Judd Apatow, it co-stars Sarah Silverman, Tim Meadows, Imogen Poots, Joan Cusack, and Maya Rudolph.

The film was released on June 3, 2016 by Universal Pictures and grossed $9 million, failing to meet its budget of $20 million. It received positive reviews from critics.


Told in the form of a musical documentary, Conner Friel is a musical prodigy at an early age, and he forms a pop rap group dubbed "The Style Boyz", with his childhood friends Lawrence Dunn and Owen Bouchard. They almost instantly gain fame in the music industry, inspiring many of today's musicians. However, after failing to receive credit for writing Conner's guest verse on the Poppy-winning single "Turn Up the Beef", Lawrence leaves.

After the Style Boyz disband, Conner becomes a solo act, taking on the name "Conner4Real", with Owen as his DJ. Lawrence begins farming in Colorado after a failed attempt at going solo. Conner's debut album Thriller, Also rockets to the top of the charts and his fame increases. In 2015, Conner releases his sophomore album Connquest, which receives terrible reviews due to him writing every single song himself as well as using hundreds of different producers rather than Owen's original beats. With sales surprisingly low, Conner's manager Harry suggests having Aquaspin, a manufacturer that makes home appliances, sponsor the tour. The company's appliances begin playing Conner's songs when in use, causing a nationwide power outage that generates a wave of backlash among Conner's fans.

Conner begins his album tour, but the shows do not sell as well as he had hoped. Harry suggests they hire hip-hop artist Hunter the Hungry as an opening act, and the ticket sales begin to rise. Conner starts to add new gimmicks to his act, including a robotic mask for Owen, publicizing his relationship with actress Ashley Wednesday, and a stage trick where he changes costumes in seconds behind a curtain. The trick only works as a result of Conner having to hide his penis behind his legs, but the trick is seemingly botched in Nashville, when Conner is exposed naked (without his penis visible) mid-concert, and becomes the subject of mockery.

Conner's publicist, Paula Klein, suggests he pull another publicity stunt to deflect attention from his humiliation. Conner decides to propose to Ashley on live TV, with a display including a number of trained wolves and a performance by Seal. Seal's vocals agitate the wolves and they break loose, mauling the attendees. Seal fights off a wolf from experience, even saying his facial scar came from wolves. However he too gets mauled seconds later. The backlash against Conner grows, and Ashley breaks up with him and starts dating Seal, who sues Conner for his injuries.

Owen, worried about the declining quality of his friend's music, sets up a meeting between himself, Conner, and Lawrence. The reunion ends poorly when Conner refuses to acknowledge that Lawrence wrote the track that launched his career. Despite Conner's poor reputation, The Tonight Show agrees to book him on an episode. Host Jimmy Fallon suddenly invites Conner to perform the Style Boyz' hit song "Donkey Roll" along with Owen, which is received well by the crowd despite Conner's reluctance.

As the tour progresses, Hunter begins to overshadow Conner, selling more records than him and dragging out his act before Conner's show. At a concert, Hunter announces that he will perform as long as possible, causing Conner to rush to the stage. A brawl ensues when Hunter quietly admits that he orchestrated Conner's wardrobe malfunction. Conner demands that Harry let Hunter go and fires Harry after finding out that he has signed Hunter. Connquest is later knocked off the charts and Aquaspin decides to pull their sponsorship. The remainder of the tour is cancelled, and Owen decides to leave the team when Conner questions his loyalty. After his beloved pet turtle Maximus dies, Conner sinks into a depression and moves back into his mother's house. He begins drinking heavily and starts selling crude horse drawings online.

Paula forces Conner to leave the house and takes him to a club featuring Owen. Owen's music and production are strong, though his singing is subpar. Conner and Owen reconcile and decide to finally make amends with Lawrence. Conner gives Lawrence his Poppy and apologizes, acknowledging Lawrence's contribution to his music. Conner and Owen discover that Lawrence owns a giant marijuana farm and a music studio in his farmhouse. As the three get high and collaborate in Lawrence's studio, Conner receives news from Paula that a six-minute slot has opened for Conner to perform at the Poppy Music Awards as a result of Taylor Swift being arrested for murder, and with encouragement from his friends, he decides to reunite The Style Boyz.

At the Poppys, Hunter humiliates himself after arguing with Mariah Carey on stage and Harry quits as Hunter's manager after being insulted by him. Conner reconciles with Harry and later finds out that the six-minute slot has been shortened to three minutes, forcing him to perform either a Conner4Real song or a Style Boyz song. Conner decides to perform The Style Boyz's new song "Incredible Thoughts" featuring Michael Bolton. The film ends with Conner reflecting on the lessons he has learned and the value of holding onto relationships after reaching stardom, and introduces a new baby turtle named Maximus II, before a wolf from Conner's disastrous proposal attacks him.


  • Andy Samberg as Conner "Kid Conner" Friel / Conner4Real
    • Evan Fine as ten-year-old Conner
  • Jorma Taccone as Owen "Kid Contact" Bouchard, Conner's former bandmate and current DJ
    • Maxwell Jenkins as ten-year-old Owen
  • Akiva Schaffer as Lawrence "Kid Brain" Dunn, Conner's former bandmate and songwriter who became a farmer following the breakup
    • Elliott Smith as ten-year-old Lawrence
  • Sarah Silverman[4] as Paula Klein, Conner's publicist
  • Tim Meadows[5] as Harry Duggins, Conner's manager
  • Maya Rudolph as Deborah, a representative for Aquaspin
  • Joan Cusack as Tilly Friel, Conner's mother
  • Imogen Poots as Ashley Wednesday, Conner's girlfriend[6]
  • Chris Redd as Hunter the Hungry, an underground rapper who tours with Conner

Additionally, Edgar Blackmon and James Buckley appear as Eddie and Sponge respectively, members of Conner's entourage who serve as his yes men.[7] Other members of Conner's staff include: Ashley Moore as Sarah, his personal assistant; Bill Hader as Zippy, a roadie; Danny Strong as his perspective manipulator; Will Forte as his bagpipe player; and Justin Timberlake as Tyrus Quash, Conner's chef. Timberlake was uncredited for the role.

Will Arnett, Eric Andre, Mike Birbiglia, and Chelsea Peretti portray CMZ reporters, a parody of TMZ. Kevin Nealon appears as photographer Gary Sikes, and Paul Scheer plays the wolf handler at Conner and Ashley's engagement ceremony. Emma Stone makes an uncredited cameo as Claudia Cantrell, a well-known pop singer who helped kickstart Conner's solo career, and "Weird Al" Yankovic appears as the lead singer of Hammerleg. The wives of Samberg, Taccone, and Schaffer all make brief appearances: Joanna Newsom (Samberg's wife) as Zippy's flatline doctor; Marielle Heller (Taccone's wife) as a member of Conner's documentary crew; and Liz Cackowski (Schaffer's wife) as the Poppies stage manager. Judd Apatow voices one of Conner's fans.

Cameos as themselves


Principal photography on the film began on May 14, 2015, announced by Universal Pictures under the working title Conner4real.[8][9]


The movie was advertised on YouTube the month of its release date. On May 10, 2016, Samberg made an appearance on NBC's The Voice in character as Conner4real to perform "I'm So Humble", alongside judge Adam Levine, and give answers to contestants in a farcical Q&A session.[10] Samberg then made a guest appearance on the season 41 finale of Saturday Night Live, on May 21, 2016. Promoted as a new SNL Digital Short, he appeared in character as Conner4real and debuted a song from the movie ("Finest Girl"). Taccone and Schaffer received guest writing credits for the episode.[11] The Lonely Island also released a video "I'm a Weirdo" to their YouTube channel, featuring conner4real rapping on the street.[citation needed]

The film was released in the United States on June 3, 2016, and in the United Kingdom on August 26, 2016 by Universal Pictures. It did not get an international release.[12]


Never Stop Never Stopping
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedJune 3, 2016
The Lonely Island chronology
The Wack Album
Never Stop Never Stopping

The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience

The Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping soundtrack album, performed by the Lonely Island, was released on June 3, 2016, the day of the film's release.[13]

Track listing[edit]

1."I'm So Humble" (featuring Adam Levine)Stress2:33
2."Hot New Single (Dialogue)"
  • Samberg
  • Schaffer
  • Taccone
3."Equal Rights" (featuring Pink)
4."Turn Up the Beef" (featuring Emma Stone)
5."Finest Girl (Bin Laden Song)"
6."Mona Lisa"
7."Are or Aren't? (Dialogue)"
  • Samberg
  • Schaffer
  • Taccone
8."Hunter the Hungry Is Gon’ Eat" (featuring Chris Redd)
  • Samberg
  • Schaffer
  • Taccone
  • Jamil Pierre
9."Should I Move?" (featuring Akon)
10."2 Banditos" (featuring Chris Redd)DJ Frank E1:56
11."Things in My Jeep" (featuring Linkin Park)
12."Kill This Music (Dialogue)"
  • Samberg
  • Schaffer
  • Taccone
13."Ashley Wednesday" (featuring Seal)
  • Samberg
  • Schaffer
  • Taccone
  • Cain
  • Bell
  • Needlz
  • Donut
14."Fuck Off"
15."Donkey Roll"
  • Samberg
  • Schaffer
  • Taccone
  • Canatan
16."Trip to Spain (Dialogue)"
  • Samberg
  • Schaffer
  • Taccone
  • Samberg
  • Schaffer
  • Taccone
  • R. Witherspoon Jr.
  • Dallas Koehlke
18."Owen's Song"
19."What Was That Beat? (Dialogue)"
  • Samberg
  • Schaffer
  • Taccone
20."Sick Glenda"
21."Incredible Thoughts" (featuring Michael Bolton and Justin Timberlake as "Mr. Fish")
Kinetics & One Love2:56
22."Me Likey Dat"
  • Samberg
  • Schaffer
  • Taccone
  • Jung
  • Baxter
23."Legalize It"
24."I'm a Weirdo"
  • Samberg
  • Schaffer
  • Taccone
  • Sultan Banks
25."Karate Guy"
26."Rock Roll Skate"
  • Samberg
  • Schaffer
  • Taccone
27."Hey Ya Ho" (featuring Chris Redd)
Arthur McArthur1:25
  • Samberg
  • Schaffer
  • Taccone


Chart (2016) Peak
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[14] 74
US Billboard 200[15] 69
US Top Comedy Albums (Billboard)[16] 1
US Top Rap Albums (Billboard)[17] 6
US Soundtrack Albums (Billboard)[18] 3


Box office[edit]

In the United States, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping opened on June 3, 2016, alongside Me Before You and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows and was expected to gross around $7 million from 2,311 theaters in its opening weekend.[19] The film grossed $322,000 from its Thursday previews and $1.8 million on its first day.[2][20] In its opening weekend, the film grossed $4.6 million and finishing 8th at the box office.[21] The film was a box office bomb, grossing just $9.5 million against its $20 million budget.[3]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 79% based on 168 reviews, with an average rating of 6.73/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping updates the rock mockumentary for the 21st century mainstream – and hits many of its low-hanging targets with side-splitting impact."[22] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 68 out of 100, based on 43 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[23] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.[2]

Vince Mancini of Uproxx gave the film a positive review, saying: "It's as stupid as it is relevant, and that layering of humor styles — insightful satire, no-holds-barred vulgarity, irresistible juvenilia, surreal pop art, timeless deadpan — are Popstar‘s hallmark. It's smart, dumb, silly, and gross in all the right ways. I loved it."[24] David Palmer of The Reel Deal gave the film 8/10, calling it the best comedy of 2016 and praised the songs.[25] Ignatiy Vishnevetsky of The A.V. Club wrote: "No music mockumentary has really managed to reproduce This Is Spinal Tap's comic mojo, but Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping gets closer than most to that subgenre-defining comedy's mix of the dead-on and the over-the-top, even if it tends to go for quantity over quality."[26]

Home media[edit]

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping was released on Blu-ray and DVD on September 13, 2016.[27] As of June 16, 2017, it had made $1.1 million in home media sales.[28] Shout! Factory released the film on Blu-ray on November 12, 2019, which included the previous special features in a limited edition steelbook case.[29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Popstar: Never Stop, Never Stopping (15)". British Board of Film Classification. July 13, 2016. Retrieved July 13, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c "'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2' Struggles With Sequelitis; 'Me Before You' Lures In The Ladies". Deadline Hollywood. June 5, 2016. Retrieved June 5, 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (2016)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 23, 2016.
  4. ^ Kit, Borys (May 14, 2015). "Sarah Silverman Joins Andy Samberg in Lonely Island Music Comedy (Exclusive)". hollywoodreporter.com. Retrieved May 19, 2015.
  5. ^ Pedersen, Erik (May 19, 2015). "Tim Meadows Joins Lonely Island Pic 'Conner4real'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 23, 2015.
  6. ^ Sneider, Jeff (May 19, 2015). "Imogen Poots in Talks to Play Andy Samberg's Love Interest in Lonely Island Comedy (Exclusive)". thewrap.com. Retrieved May 23, 2015.
  7. ^ Pedersen, Erik; D'Alessandro, Anthony (May 28, 2015). "James Buckley Joins Lonely Island Pic 'Conner4real'; Evan Jones Set For 'Shot Caller'; Goldenthal Lauded In Krakow". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 12, 2015.
  8. ^ "Universal Pictures Begins Principal Photography on Top Secret Untitled Lonely Island Movie". prnewswire.com. May 14, 2015. Retrieved May 19, 2015.
  9. ^ Lesnick, Silas (May 14, 2015). "Production Begins on Top Secret Untitled Lonely Island Movie!". comingsoon.net. Retrieved May 19, 2015.
  10. ^ Kreps, Daniel (May 11, 2016). "See Andy Samberg, Adam Levine Debut 'I'm So Humble'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2018-05-02.
  11. ^ "The Lonely Island Return to "SNL" With "Finest Girl": Watch - Pitchfork".
  12. ^ Pedersen, Erik. "Lonely Island Movie Gets Summer 2016 Release From Universal". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 2015-06-09.
  13. ^ Pearce, Sheldon (May 23, 2016). "The Lonely Island's Popstar Soundtrack Features Linkin Park, Seal, Akon, Emma Stone". Pitchfork. Retrieved May 28, 2016.
  14. ^ "The Lonely Island Chart History (Canadian Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved June 16, 2016.
  15. ^ "The Lonely Island Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
  16. ^ "The Lonely Island Chart History (Top Comedy Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved June 16, 2016.
  17. ^ "The Lonely Island Chart History (Top Rap Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved June 16, 2016.
  18. ^ "The Lonely Island Chart History (Soundtrack Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved June 16, 2016.
  19. ^ "'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' Sequel to Top Box Office, But Faces Troubled Waters Ahead". TheWrap.com.
  20. ^ Anthony D'Alessandro (June 3, 2016). "'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2', 'Me Before You' Get Thursday Night Going – Box Office". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  21. ^ Anthony D'Alessandro (June 5, 2016). "'Ninja Turtles 2' Muscles Up On Saturday For OK Est. $35.3M Opening; 'Me Before You' Opens To $18.3M – Sunday AM B.O. Update". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 5, 2016.
  22. ^ "Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 5, 2020.
  23. ^ "Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  24. ^ "'Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping' Is The Best Mockumentary Since 'Spinal Tap'". Uproxx. May 15, 2016. Retrieved May 15, 2016.
  25. ^ "'Popstar' Is the Best Comedy of 2016". The Reel Deal. June 2, 2016.
  26. ^ Vishnevetsky, Ignatiy (June 2, 2016). "Popstar gives today's Top 40 a little Spinal Tap". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  27. ^ Lesnick, Silas (September 13, 2016). "September 13, 2016: This Week on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD". ComingSoon.net. Retrieved June 16, 2017.
  28. ^ "Popstar Never Stop Never Stopping (2016)". The Numbers. Retrieved June 16, 2017.
  29. ^ "Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping [Limited Edition Steelbook] + Exclusive Lithograph". Shout Factory. Retrieved 2020-10-11.

External links[edit]