Dirs: Dan Cutforth, Jane Lipsitz. US. 2012. 88mins
The makers of Justin Bieber: Never Say Never give the same treatment to another pop music sensation in Katy Perry: Part Of Me, an entertaining 3D documentary that mixes flashy coverage of Perry’s eye-popping stage show with relatively frank backstage and biographical material.
The unraveling of the relationship gives some structure to what would otherwise be a pretty aimless documentary.
The personal stuff - which includes a segment on the breakup of Perry’s tabloid-fodder marriage to British comedian Russell Brand - will provide an extra marketing hook when Part Of Me opens in North America over the upcoming July 4 holiday weekend. Worldwide distributor Paramount will be hoping that rival new release The Amazing Spider-Man leaves enough of a young female audience available for Part Of Me to have a shot at matching Never Say Never’s impressive $73m domestic take.
With its more global flavour, the Perry film may have an edge over the Bieber documentary in the international marketplace, where Never Say Never managed a less impressive $25m.
Most of the film was shot during Perry’s 2011 world tour in support of her double platinum Teenage Dreams album. Taking a slightly different approach than they did in Never Say Never, directors Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz spread numbers from the stage show evenly through the film, using multiple camera angles to capture the cartoonish sets and energetic dance routines.
In between the songs are clips from old home movies, glimpses backstage, scenes of Perry meeting fans in the US, Europe, Japan, Brazil and Australia and interviews with the singer’s family and creative and business collaborators.
The record industry background may be a bit too detailed for most fans but parents and teens might relate to the recounting of how Perry reacted against her strictly religious upbringing (her mother still doesn’t like the revealing costumes or risqué hit I Kissed a Girl).
Russell Brand is notably absent as an interviewee - though he is seen a few times backstage - and clips from TV news shows are used to relate the couple’s divorce announcement. Perry refers only obliquely to the breakup in her interviews but she’s seen crying in a couple of quite moving backstage scenes.
The unraveling of the relationship gives some structure to what would otherwise be a pretty aimless documentary and the segment on the divorce serves as a platform for an emotional finale with cathartic renditions of signature hits Fireworks and California Gurls.
Production companies: Insurge Pictures, Imagine Entertainment, Direct Management Group, AEG Live, EMI Music North America
Worldwide distribution: Paramount Pictures
Producers: Brian Grazer, Katy Perry, Martin Kirkup, Bradford Cobb, Steven Jensen
Executive producers: Craig Brewer, Randy Phillips, Michael Rosenberg, Erica Huggins, Edward Lovelace, James Hall
Editor: Scott Richter