It’s been four years now since Katy Perry burst onto the music scene with “I Kissed a Girl” and she just keeps getting bigger and bigger. Packed with enough sexual energy to make any boyfriend at the time nervous, if you looked carefully you could see her tongue planted firmly in cheek. I knew there had to be more of a backstory to this new artist and quickly looked upon the almighty YouTube for more. Of course there were older music videos, some for songs far better than her first smash hit, the funniest being for “Ur So Gay.” But at the time, it seems doubtful that anyone listening to Teenage Dream had any clue about her time spent with The Matrix or her first album produced by Glen Ballard.
Directors Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz are no strangers to documentary/concert films, having served as producers on Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never last year. Now they get to finally put on a show of their own with Katy Perry: Part of Me, and they couldn’t have picked a bigger star. Chronicling her 2011 tour, unsurprisingly, her personal life outshines her candy-colored onstage spectacular spectacular. The best being her stop in Las Vegas to visit her grandmother. Is it any surprise that she nearly steals the show? Not really. But the rest of the interview sequences are just as fun and the backstage antics show she’s just a girl living a dream come true.
People always at first seem surprised to hear that I don’t hate Katy Perry or her music. She’s fun and rambunctious and sometimes a little pop music never hurt anyone. While I would never shell out the money to attend one of her pop-up book come- to-life performances (featuring more costume changes than a ‘90s-era Reba concert), I can see the appeal. And the musical numbers really shine in 3D. With lots of hits to run through, you’re hard pressed not to run across a favorite here. Everything from “Teenage Dream” to “Hot n Cold” and “E.T.” to “Last Friday Night” serve as backdrops to her personal life, with the best bits lending an emotional pull with “The One That Got Away” and “Not Like the Movies” about her broken-hearted whirlwind relationship with Russell Brand.
Whether you love Katy Perry or not, you can’t ignore how much fun she’s having even while it takes the biggest toll on her personal life. But at least she has her sister Angela (who even gets involved in the films best gag when she appears onstage as Katy’s alter-ego Kathy Beth Terry for a performance of “Last Friday Night”) and best friend Shannon Woodward (Raising Hope) at her side through thick and thin. Katy really is a girl with a huge streak of good luck and hard work under her belt as manager Bradford Cobb mentions, it took them five years to wind up with an album with five #1 songs. Katy is the first and only artist since Michael Jackson to accomplish this feat. Anyone reading this already knows whether they are going to see the film or not and you can’t blame them. But at least I can assure everyone else they will be thoroughly entertained as well even if sometimes Katy Perry: Part of Me doesn’t quite show all of her.
Photos courtesy Paramount Pictures