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Brandon Judell

Katy Perry: Part of Me (A Rather Small Part)

By Brandon Judell

"Katy Perry: Part of Me" in 3-D

The closer you are to puberty, the more you’ll be blown away by “Katy Perry: Part of Me.” Just imagine Madonna’s “Truth or Dare” (1991), but without the sexual innuendo, glamour, wit, and Warren Beatty. To be blunt, a young Russell Brand is no replacement for Warren, even an aging Warren.

Shot in 3D for absolutely no reason, the film’s goal was to record Perry’s first major, year-long world tour and constantly remind folks how nice she is. And she is nice and lovable. And many of her songs are instantly addictive. And there is often a groundbreaking edgy creativeness to their accompanying videos. Then there’s the content. “I Kissed a Girl” certainly transformed lesbianism into something cool for high schoolers.

(For the sake of editorial fairness, I come as a fan, not being able to get enough of “Teenage Dream” and the inspirational anthem “Firework.”)

But this film is mostly devoid of any artfulness, and that’s because “Part of Me” was designed as a product without the unifying vision of a director. Most of the footage was first shot by Edward Lovelace and James Hall, British filmmakers, and only later on handed over to Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz -- the team best known for producing Top Chef, Project Runway, and Justin Bieber: Never Say Never -- to form a film out of.

Apparently, personal interviews with family members and friends were shot and added afterwards.

So the film follows Perry as she experiences the unexpected pressures of fame and performing before 14,000 screaming fans for 124 shows throughout 2011, while her dancers, staff, and scenery followed her about in 7 tour buses and 16 trucks from city to city. Between shows, the singer eats corn on the cob and pizza, goes to a Tokyo “feline” restaurant where she noshes on the floor while cats sashay about her, presents her grandma with a tour jacket, and notes how Alanis Morissette inspired her and helped break the chains of her Pentecostal Christian upbringing.

Her parents, both preachers, apparently constrained Perry’s childhood experiences, and that of her siblings, to only those that reinforced their vision of God. The kids were not even allowed to chow down on Lucky Charms cereal because the brand name was satanic. Her pop’s now well-documented anti-Semitism is sidestepped and her mom’s homophobia is given short shrift.

There is some footage, though, detailing Perry’s transformation from devout Christian to gospel singer to L.A.-based wannabe rock star to bustier-wearing diva, but this is a BookRags.com take on this endearing celebrity. Don’t expect the complete “War and Peace.”

However, this may be all that Perry’s fans want: a party. And a party it often is. Everyone involved is having a good time until Perry breaks down in Brazil over her decimating marriage to Brand. But after a crying a whole lot, the star puts on a fake smile and goes out and conquers. In response, in Portuguese, the adoring attendees start chanting: “We love you, Kate Perry. We love you, Kate Perry.” Slowly, you see Katy’s sham jollity become genuine, and you can’t help but be moved.

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