Katy Perry: Part of Me

Movie Information

The Story:A 3-D music documentary about pop star Katy Perry. The Lowdown: A fun and flattering, performance-heavy documentary that Perry fans will love, and non-fans won’t mind if they bother to see it for some reason.
Genre: Pop Music Documentary
Director: Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz
Starring: Katy Perry, Shannon Woodward, Rachael Markarian, Mia Moretti
Rated: PG

Let me blow your mind. Katy Perry has had five singles from the same album (Teenage Dream) top the Billboard charts at No. 1. She is not only the first female to do so, but also the second musical act to accomplish such a feat. The other, of course, being The Beatles.

I’m sure there are hundreds of theories about how this could have happened independently of Katy Perry’s actual talent. Pop music is a precarious genre due largely to its ability to be both completely polarizing, both loved and hated in equal parts. Whether or not one finds Katy Perry to be an exceptionally talented musician or a mass-marketed industry explosion is not the point. The point of Katy Perry: Part of Me is that Katy Perry is a real, emotional roller coaster of a human being with family, friends, a career and a marriage. She isn’t just an industry fabricated pop star. She’s your best friend Katy Cat, and she just wants to you to have fun and be the best you can be.

Between Perry’s spectacle of whipped cream guns and glitter, Part of Me is basic “behind the music” stock. There is nothing especially dramatic or lascivious in her past or her present. Even her strict Christian family and upbringing has been reconciled and integrated seamlessly into the fabric of her life as a woman who made good with a song about casual sexuality. Her relationship with and eventual divorce from actor/comedian Russell Brand is handled with a surprising subtlety, showing a slow decline throughout the movie until a tearful dressing room scene with a broken-down and petulant Perry who has to force herself to perform. This tactic — portraying her as an utterly normal person who gets sad and angry and exhausted, yet gets up and goes to work just like the rest of us — works well and is convincing enough to get most viewers to empathize.

With a following nearly as large, but far less avid than, say, the nation’s collective boyfriend Justin Bieber, documenting Perry’s grueling 2011 world tour is a natural progression in her professional career. Filmed in 3-D, Perry’s live performances are garish — a babe in Candyland’s most flamboyant of West Coast nightclubs — brightly colored and simultaneously childish, playful and weirdly sexy. With accents of bubblegum clouds and an arsenal of whimsically tragic costumes, the film gives the viewer plenty of engaging eye candy. The show is fascinating and extremely fun even if the entire aesthetic is a somewhat like someone vomited cotton candy and cherry cola all over a rave. Perry is magnetic and charismatic on stage and off, making each massive stage show feel personal, even intimate. She is undeniably a powerhouse performer, and this is what truly carries the film. Perry’s vision, dedication, fierce work ethic and devotion to her fans is nothing if not reciprocal. Her Katy-Cat-loving fans believe that Perry is just like them — a girl with big dreams and big passions. The beauty of it is that Katy Perry’s message is not that she is just like you, but that you are just like her and the whole lot of us all are big, goofy people with big, goofy dreams and we can do whatever we like with some hard work and some sequins. Rated PG for some suggestive content, language, thematic elements and brief smoking.

reviewed by Laura Marie Souther


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10 thoughts on “Katy Perry: Part of Me

  1. Jeremy Dylan

    As I’m currently in the middle of editing my own film of this type, I’ve been looking to catch MARLEY. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like getting a theatrical run down under.

    This one may be the most suitable substitute.

  2. Ken Hanke

    Only if you have footage of Jim dancing with someone in a purple cat costume.

  3. Jeremy Dylan

    If there are any purple costumes in this movie, Jim is going to be the one wearing them.

  4. Justin Souther

    Laura Marie didn’t care to mention this, but this movie — like that 3D Jonas Brothers monstrosity — does have a cannon that shoots out some sort of suggestive white substance all over the audience.

    If you’re missing that, Jeremy, I don’t know what to tell you.

  5. Jeremy Dylan

    If you’re missing that, Jeremy, I don’t know what to tell you.

    I’m still gathering archival material, but I feel it unlikely I will turn up an Americana version of this.

  6. Ken Hanke

    I suspect Justin refers to what looks like some sort of lactating bra in the trailers. You know, classy stuff.

  7. Justin Souther

    I suspect Justin refers to what looks like some sort of lactating bra in the trailers. You know, classy stuff.

    Nope, it’s the same thing that was in that Jonas Brothers movie.

  8. Laura Marie

    Jeez oh pete, the whip cream cannon was not THAT impressive.

    You just have a fixation.

  9. Ken Hanke

    the whip cream cannon was not THAT impressive.

    Oh, you’ve seen better, huh?

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