The gold standard for a fake musical mockumentary is no doubt This Is Spinal Tap. Following the accident-prone tour of a British hair metal band that is clearly made up of people that are not as bright as they think they are, the movie chronicles one disaster after another as Spinal Tap tries to have a successful tour.
Lonely Island, the comedy group made famous due to their digital shorts on Saturday Night Live, have their own musical mockumentary. How was it?
Well, it wasn’t as good as Spinal Tap, but that might be asking too much if anybody.
Quite frankly, a project like this best fits Lonely Island’s comedy style of musical ridiculousness. The best known member of the trio, Andy Samberg, stars as Conner 4 Real, a onetime member of a boy band called the Style Kids. Conner’s career took off in ways that the other two members didn’t, and he’s about to launch his second solo album.
The other two former members are played by the other two guys from Lonely Island, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone. Those two also directed and co-wrote the screenplay with Samberg.
The movie follows Conner’s over-the-top lifestyle, where his former bandmates Owen (Taccone) has been reduced to DJing for Conner, and Lawrence (Schaffer) has left music altogether over a credit dispute and taken up as what appears to be the world’s worst farmer. Owen would love to get the original band back together, and the movie does suggest that Conner does not do near as well on his own as he did with at least one of the other guys helping.
Truth be told, most of the movie’s material is rather standard stuff for a movie like this. It’s still funny, and the viewer may get a kick out of spotting a number of former SNL cast members in various supporting roles (Will Forte’s is a very quick in-and-out), as well as past Lonely Island collaborators Michael Bolton and Justin Timberlake playing along. There are, in fact, quite a number of music stars popping up here and there, many gushing over how great the Style Boys were, but rarely doing more than that.
The true highlight has to be the music. Conner’s songs are utterly ridiculous, like a homophobic gay rights song, and another populated entirely by catchphrases. Fans of their digital shorts will probably enjoy the movie for that alone.
All things being equal, it was a fun movie. I’m giving it eight out of ten Parent Trap schemes.