Katy Perry doesn’t have a great voice. And I doubt “I Kissed a Girl” will be much remembered in fifty years. Katy Perry: Part of Me manages at least to portray its titular subject as the sweetest thing since cherry pie. Miss Perry is not a polarizing figure. Some people adore her. Some inevitably loathe her. Most, I think, remain relatively neutral on the subject. Those of us in that sober category will either mildly enjoy the new documentary/concert film, or mildly crinkle their noses at the thought. I must say it won me over, though I suspect a film like this is more suited to television or the internet than the theatre.
The film chronicles essentially a year of Katy’s life, as she embarks on a “huge” world tour while trying to find time to schlepp around with her hubby Russell Brand (it’s funny if you know how it ends, as we all do). Unfortunately this tender subject is not particularly interesting, fitting into the standard “pop stars have feelings too” propaganda. The best parts of the movie involve her childhood and adolescence as the daughter of Pentecostal itinerant evangelists who objected not only to worldly music but to the world in general, and also of course her bright and colorful stage shows. If the music is lacking in character, Katy Perry at least has a knack for spectacle. From what they put in the movie, her shows look like a musical adventure through Candyland with a touch of Charlie’s Chocolate Factory.
Unfortunately there’s not much to say. Katy Perry: Part of Me is so drably mediocre, I challenge even her harshest critics to find something seriously awful about it. I must say I left the theatre with a tad more respect for her, but that’s marketing for you. My biggest quibble with the film is its use of 3-D. No, not that it’s bad 3-D, it’s good 3-D. And therein lies the problem. The 3-D used in Katy Perry: Part of Me is what has been called “immersive”. No crazy B.S. jumping off the screen. No drumsticks thrown up in the air. There’s no gimmick involved. This is great for Avatar or Hugo, or any other serious film. But a Katy Perry docuconcert is no time to show artistic restraint. Other than this, it’s a harmless movie, destined to please fans and skeptics respectively.