Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping / Maggie's Plan
Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone’s intermittently funny Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is essentially a compilation of not altogether successful Lonely Island (Andy Samberg, Schaffer and Taccone) videos starring Andy Samberg’s Conner 4 Real, the under-gifted frontman of the inexplicably celebrated rap group The Style Boyz (Samberg, Schaffer and Taccone). Conner leaves the group for a solo career but flies too close to the arena lights and crashes and burns. It’s actually the crashing and burning – and not Conner’s idiotic ascent – that is most entertaining about the movie, which stars a boat load of addled celebrity cameos and the prominent appearance of a fanboy penis (not in a box) that Conner must autograph. It’s all much too much but will undoubtedly delight SNL’s Lonely Island fans and others sucked into the vortex of producer Judd Apatow’s expanding universe.
Rebecca Miller’s Maggie’s Plan is a nicely observed film about self-delusion and self-absorption, starring Greta Gerwig as Maggie, a low-level administrator at New York’s The New School and Ethan Hawke, as a whiny egoist and part-time New School anthropologist married to a high-powered Columbia University egoist (Julianne Moore). Maggie wants to have a baby and enlists the services of a donor named Guy (Travis Fimmel) who’s a pickle entrepreneur and mathophile. Maggie’s plan goes awry after she meets Hawke’s John and agrees to read his novel – an interminable treatise on the hell that is his marriage to Moore’s Germanic Georgette. Maggie’s swept up and swept away, abandons her single-motherhood plan, has John’s baby, marries him after his divorce from Georgette and enters into dismal marital torpor, which, of course, then leads to the hatching of another plan. The small film is smart and insightful and the three leads are wonderful and get terrific assists from Bill Hader and Maya Rudolph as Maggie’s supportive but not sympathetic friends.