Katy Perry: Part of Me (2012) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies

Katy Perry: Part of Me (2012)

Danny no longer writes for Can't Stop the Movies, and can be reached at his fantastic site Pre-Code.com

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"Thank you for supporting my weirdness."

The pivotal moment for Katy Perry: Part of Me comes when, shortly after realizing that her marriage had finally crumbled beyond repair, Perry has to go up on stage and perform a concert to a sold out venue. She's barely able to hold it together, looking distraught and at a total loss. Standing on the platform, about to be lifted up onto the stage, she looks down and realizes that she currently has a pair of mechanized rotating peppermints on her breasts and is holding a microphone that's bedazzled beyond recognition.

Her face crystallizes into a smile. Katy Perry, Pop Star, is ready for her show.

For all of its candy coated joy and smiling fan testimonials, Part of MeĀ plays with a lot of themes that were touched on last week by The Dark Knight Rises. (How's that for a sentence you never thought you'd read?) For all the film's talk of Katy spreading joy and being herself, it's a surprising contradiction as we soon learn how many deep dark issues are at play here. Katy Perry, Pop Star, is a mask, an illusion crafted for as much Perry's personal well being as much as being a viable commercial entity.

Not a concert film.

What the course of the film portrays, then, is the removal of the original Perry's part from that persona, stemming from either a nakedly commercial need or some deeper egalitarian bent. For all of the hurrahs about Katy as a person, she's become an entity beyond herself. Celebrity has consumed her.

This is sparked from her divorce to Russell Brand who, thankfully, is left with only three lines of dialogue in the film, thus making this the best Russell Brand vehicle in quite some time. While Perry extols on her love for him, he remains a cypher. Is the breakup because of the distance? Because of her refusal to have children-- as she says, "I can't have babies, I'm still a baby!"? Or is it politely left off screen?

I'm going to with the latter, there, though Perry's uncomfortable stage persona banks on eternal adolescence, and would seem to indicate that she's still very much living with blinders on. Choosing to embrace that persona is to embrace a confident idealized version of the, if you pardon the phrase, teenage dream.

Don't get me wrong, seeing the utter desolation of a human being in favor of the comfort of an empty reality isn't a joyous experience-- this film isn't much fun, beyond cataloging Perry's candy inspired outfits. Instead, it's interesting to consider this as a piece of contemporary cultural criticism.

Why would someone at the height of her power and fame release this biographical piece? Half of it certainly comes across as spin-- part of the Katy Perry propaganda machine, where she's a cute innocent, bringing herself fame by her own bootstraps, with a message of once again generic 'girl power'.

The last we see of Katy Perry, human.

But the other half, the parts that dwell on her divorce and her tumultuous upbringing, seem to be as aching as the earlier song she's crafted before her pop personage came to the forefront. This is a woman at war with herself, trying herself in front of a jury of her fans in an attempt to make sense of it all.

Perry's divorce with Brand wholly informs the finality of the film, as we finally see the two separate Perrys merging. But instead of uniting in Katy Perry, it's Katy Perry, Pop Star, who emerges triumphant. Free of her personal commitments with only a few tears to shed, she can finally embrace the alter ego, becoming the eternal adolescent.

This is epitomized in the films final moments when Perry busts out a gun full of foam, symbolically jizzing all over her audience in a testament to her new found power-- but also her embrace of being only Katy Perry, Pop Star.


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Posted by Danny

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  1. Good review Danny. I didn’t mind this flick as much as I thought I would have probably because the sings are entertaining and Perry herself, is very likable. Problem is, if you don’t like these types of movies, then this one probably won’t have you change your mind at all.

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