‘Katy Perry: Part of Me’
If the 3-D documentary Katy Perry: Part of Me can be trusted, the record-setting pop star is not just a blue-haired doll-person, but also a goofy, sweet and spacey-yet-savvy singer whose main concern is turning average people into candy-coated smile flowers.
As a piece of pro-Perry propaganda, the entertaining and disarmingly poignant movie from directors and reality television vets Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz is a startling success. Although there are moments when the filmmakers fingerprints are nearly visible on the manipulated putty of an audience, the scenes arent enough to break the fruit-flavored spell.
The main thread of the movie follows the Firework singer during 2011. It was a particularly eventful year for Perry, who globe-trotted for her sold-out California Dreams Tour and also ended her 14-month marriage to scraggly British comedian Russell Brand. Backstage footage shares screen time with concert numbers, old home movies and interviews that chronicle Perrys relatively slow rise to success. Its a compelling story that mixes onstage moments – including the terrifying spectacle of screaming, crying fans – and behind-the-scenes glances, such as Perrys visit to her brassy grandmother, who is humorously less sugary sweet than her progeny.
Perrys back story as the gospel-crooning daughter of Pentecostal ministers makes for a diverting plot, especially considering her first smash hit, I Kissed a Girl. The singers thwarted attempts at fame after moving to Los Angeles are equally absorbing.
Most noteworthy is the films ability to summon emotion. In a bit of dramatic irony, thanks to People magazine and Us Weekly, the audience knows Perrys marriage is over while shes still murmuring on-screen over having found the love of her life. Celebrity marriages, with their orchestrations and short life spans, can seem trivial, but the breakup actually causes sorrow.
Of course, discussions of the divorce feel awfully one-sided. There are frequent mentions of Perrys long-haul trips to visit her husband, although he reportedly didnt return the favor.
Speaking of drawbacks, the use of 3-D doesnt add much to anything but ticket prices. A few moments during the concerts, when lasers or a spray of whipped cream make a convincing entry into the audience, arent enough to warrant wearing special glasses for 90 minutes. Besides, Perry doesnt need any help popping off the screen. She isnt afraid to look like a goofball, which might be why her army of devotees adores her.