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Fuck Guilty Pleasures

Why the Katy Perry Movie Is a Classic

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Tue, Jan 7, 2014 at 4:00 AM

click to enlarge PARAMOUNT PICTURES
  • Paramount Pictures
[Editor's Note: Fuck Guilty Pleasures celebrates the over-produced, commercial, artless, lowbrow music that we believe is genuinely worthwhile. Like, among the best music ever.]

Ah, July 2012. A time when we thought it was still slightly possible that Mitt Romney would be our next president.

But something equally unlikely happened that month: The Katy Perry hagiography, Katy Perry: Part of Me, came out, and it was amazing. No seriously, hear us out.

It chronicled her tumultuous divorce from comedian Russell Brand, and her biggest tour to date. Sounds like the kind of thing that nobody but teeny-bopping Perry fans and creepy old guys would be interested in, right?

click to enlarge Paramount Pictures
  • Paramount Pictures
Indeed, everyone expected it to be a cheeseball, glitter-soaked, self-serving, cinematic snooze, and indeed The Detroit News called it an "electronic press kit" while Slate labeled it "phony and staged."

But believe it or not, they were among the outliers; the film overall got pretty good reviews from critics, and Huffington Post called it the best pop music documentary of the 3-D era. It was even a box office success, and is the 8th highest-grossing documentary of all time.

Yes, there were moments that were clearly for her, um, Katy Kats. (Let us never say those words again). Of course Part of Me makes Perry look good, after all, she produced it.

But the documentary really succeeds in making her likeable, which is not as easy as it sounds. Because, if the pop songstress is really faking her amicable personality here, then she is the best actor we've ever seen.

As for the story itself, it's fascinating, relatable, captivating even. The movie follows Perry as a child growing up in Santa Barbara as the daughter of pentecostal preachers and then moving to L.A. as a teen to try to make it in music. There are interviews with Perry's sister and brother, who explain how it took years and a lot of financial suffering before Perry broke out with "I Kissed a Girl."

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