So my bosses asked me to review the new Katy Perry documentary. I'm not sure why. In any event, I need to be careful with the snarky comments here, because not only did I come away from the pop star's new actually-in-theaters movie liking her personally (I think), but, judging from the video witnesses that open and close it, there is a sea of very alone and very earnest 13-year olds for whom Perry's songs are invaluable lifelines, and there's a good chance they'll come after me if I talk too much trash.
In the interest of getting the negativity out of the way, though, I gotta say two things. First of all, the "weirdness" thing is borderline zany, which is bad. A giant kabuki "Kitty Perry"... a laugh-free nerd alter-ego (Kathy Beth Terry)... her habit of encouraging fans to show up in stupid costumes, with the "weirdest" getting awarded backstage passes... this all contributes to a vague "Flo from Progressive Car Insurance" feel.
Second, and I hate to say it, but I don't really dig the music. It's kind of bland. The only good songs in the movie were " I Kissed a Girl" and when she covered the Whitney Houston hit " I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)." I guess " Peacock," too, but it makes me uncomfortable. I mean, is it supposed to sound like she's talking about something besides the animal? Agh, I am old.
Last thing: In the song " Part of Me," the chorus is "This is the part of me that you're never gonna ever take away from me" -- that's rhyming "me" with "me." Maybe I'm being a jerk, but I think you're not supposed to do that.
All that said, the '80s-rapper-meets-Sons of Anarchy look her preacher dad's got going is worth the price of admission alone, and both her parents' patient support is really sweet. But there is one scene that really resonated with me. The movie is about her exhaustive tour after her 2010 album Teenage Dream took over the world and eventually cost her her marriage to Russell Brand. The show she performs almost every night for a year starts with Perry rising up through the floor with a microphone cocked in one hand and a brilliant smile on her face. She looks great and talks about how exciting it all is -- "This really is my teenage dream" -- for the first 40 nights.
Then, after around 68 shows, she's getting a little run down, and Brand is not really cooperating. When the marriage really goes south, she's wearing a black hoodie, balled up in the fetal position in a room with all these people running around saying, "She never cries" while 100,000-plus Brazilians dressed in hot dog costumes scream their heads off not far away, waiting for her. After declining an offer to cancel the show, she silently gathers herself, cries through getting her makeup/dress put on, and dejectedly slumps down the hall to the riser. She slowly cocks the microphone with no expression on her face, and somebody says, "Ready?" After a couple seconds, you can see her affix her beautiful smile and the platform starts to go up. It's pretty intense -- likely the sort of thing that sent Britney Spears off the deep end. Perry shows herself to be really human, but also a professional. It's a tough way to learn to be careful what you wish for.
She also pulls herself out of an abyss to go do her nightly meet-and-greet, wherein she ably dazzles some little kids, becoming the "Katy Perry" persona even though she was in no way feeling it not 10 minutes before. As I said, these are the horrors of fame that contributed to Britney shaving her head, and Perry is in that world. But she's pretty emotionally healthy, and that really comes out in the movie -- it seems like she's going to be fine. And as far as role models go, I say she is an excellent one. I am in no way the target demographic here, and I may have been a little hard on her before, but Perry doesn't need me and my smelly old opinions, and the kids that do get it appear to be better off as a result. I don't mind not getting it.