Katy Perry: Part of Me
There's a moment that will make any music enthusiast stop and think in Katy Perry's candy-coated, light-as-air 3D concert movie Katy Perry: Part Of Me 3D. In the film, the chart-topping pop star talks about how listening to Alanis Morissette's iconic album Jagged Little Pill changed her life. It's interesting to think about these artists, not just in the disparity between their respective music and image, but, really, how similar these Glen Ballard-produced megastars really are at the core. Both had well-documented break-ups and both hit the scene at a time when there was a distinct void for their brand of entertainment. But herein lies the big question: will their careers ultimately wind up taking the same trajectory? Wouldn't it be far more fascinating when all the pixie dust settles to see where Perry is a little further down the road?
That's not to say Perry isn't entertaining now or that her eye-popping 3D spectacle doesn't have its moments, but we are all so familiar with the 27-year-old singer's story from her religious upbringing to her very public divorce from comedian/actor Russell Brand (neither of which are shied away from in Part of Me) that it makes the sugary flick like more of an easy-to swallow summer treat than something to really sink your teeth in to.
Like 2011's Justin Bieber's concert documentary Never Say Never, Katy Perry: Part of Me shows the meteoric rise of a pop star from humble beginnings with a laser-like determination for success. Still, while Perry has an incredibly likable, approachable persona on and off stage and she's already pulled off one hell of an impressive feat thus far in her career (she's the first female artist in history to generate five number one singles off an album,) like Bieber and other social networking-savvy stars of this era, it feels like only the beginning of the fairy tale for the pop princess.
Still, the self-proclaimed "Katy Cats" won't necessarily need a happily-ever-after to be satisfied with the final product. (If those "It Gets Better"-esque testimonials from young fans that bookend Part of Me tell us anything, it's that she's helping lay the groundwork for theirs.) With expertly choreographed live numbers from her wildly successful worldwide California Dreams tour bound to make her followers dance in their seats (or at least get "Firework" stuck in all of our heads for another summer), intertwined with interviews from those closest to Perry and fly-on-the-wall behind-the-scenes footage, the film certainly has all the thrills of being granted an all-access backstage pass.
For as much glazing over some of Perry's bumps along the way as Part of Me does there's no mention of Perry's previous relationship to musician Travie McCoy; no talk of the singer's excessive wedding in India to Brand; nor is there any focus on the kid-friendly pop star's sometimes controversial image, including that infamous visit to Sesame Street there are still some very raw, relatable, human moments documented here. From an appearance by Perry's adorable scene-stealing grandmother (who outshines the likes of Lady Gaga and Rihanna as the movie's best cameo) reminiscing about her granddaughter as a "silly" youngster to a truly heartbreaking backstage meltdown in which an exhausted, devastated Perry pushes through the pain to ensure that the show goes on.
No matter what your feelings on Perry and Brand's 14-month-marriage, Part of Me can make you empathize with a mega star multimillionaire at certain times (Brand, on the other hand, who appears in the film a number of times, this will do less favors for than his late night FX talk show) but it might also make moviegoers think twice about what they read in the tabloids and how it effects the people on the other end of it. If Part of Me accomplishes nothing more than that, maybe it's there's a little something harder at the center of this cinematic candy, after all.
In the end, viewers really only get part of Katy Perry here, a mostly shiny image of a pop powerhouse at the height of her fame and a taste of her exuberant stage shows. But even if the "inspirational" story of the girl who couldn't watch The Smurfs growing up doesn't move you to be "different" or her Top 40-geared music isn't exactly your cup of tea (or in this case, bra of whipped cream) Perry's humble sincerity and oft-times overwhelming ambition will, at least, make a small part of you want to check in with her again a little further down the road.