Katy Perry: Part of Me (2012)

Be yourself and you can be anything.

‘Thank-you all for believing in my weirdness,’ a perky, dolled-up Katy Perry states to a lively audience in her self-titled, Katy Perry: Part of Me. Half-documentary, half-concert film, Katy Perry: Part of Me gives fans the opportunity to explore Perry’s transformation from girl next door to international pop icon, giving viewers a sneak peek into the life of a superstar — both on and off screen — while flashing between her 2011 California Dreams concert tour — exploring the size and scope of the production, and some of the technical behind-the-scenes details. Throughout the picture, Perry is shown as a compassionate, self-aware, completely genuine enigma, whilst the compilation of concert clips is impressive, showcasing the production’s colossal scale, glitzy set designs and flamboyant costumes.

For those who have been living under a rock, Katy Perry exploded into the mainstream music scene in 2008 when her song, I Kissed a Girl, burst onto radio’s around the globe with its infectious pop tune and good-girl-gone-bad lyrics resonating with a majority of listeners. Perry’s debut studio album — second in theory, as she recorded a gospel rock album seven years prior — One of the Boys, was released that same year and was welcomed with over one million sales, officially transforming Perry into a household name. Her second studio album, Teenage Dream, boasted five massive number one hits, including California Gurls, Teenage Dream, Firework, E.T., Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.), and Part of Me — a record previously held by Michael Jackson — further solidifying Perry’s success.

I love you, You love me, We're a happy family!
I love you, You love me, We’re a happy family!

Directed and compiled by Dan Cutforth and Jane LipsitzKaty, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never (2011), Katy Perry: Part of Me, spends much of its running time exposing the grind behind Perry’s 2011 California Dreams concert tour, its wear and tear on the vibrant young musician — its effect on her personal life and her ability to perform — as the dedicated musician strives to produce a lively, entertaining show for her many crazed fans. Most notably however — although light on specifics — the picture briefly touches on Perry’s then relationship with comedian/actor Russell Brand, Get Him to the Greek (2010), their conflicting schedules, her marriage to the star and their eventual teary fall. The picture looks at famed music producer Glenn Ballard’s (Alanis Morissette, Michael Jackson) influence on Perry’s career, her collaboration with the producing team known as The Matrix, and explores her shift to Capital Records after leaving Columbia and Island/Def Jam recordings behind.

All the while, fans are introduced to Perry’s personal assistant, photographer, make-up artist, family, and closest friends, who speak about Perry’s passion and dedication as an artist and praise her for remaining true to herself. We see Perry — who is clearly in touch with her fan base — interact with her many admirers, which is often uplifting, particularly when their faces light up with delight at the sight of the star. Intercut throughout the picture are scenes or extended clips of the engaging Perry performing her biggest hits in front of thousands, along with memorable backstage moments, offering viewers an all-encompassing look at her most dazzling tour stops.

Katy's thinking of releasing her own brand of cat apparel ...
Katy’s thinking of releasing her own brand of cat apparel …

The most captivating part of the documentary however, is the story of Perry’s past, as we learn about her period of self-discovery, her personal transformation and eventual rise to the top of the secular music charts. Here, Perry’s sheltered Christian background is uncovered and we meet her devout Catholic parents — who were travelling preachers — while leaning about the Alanis Morissette record which apparently opened up Perry’s eyes and exposed her to ‘reality.’ We are given glimpses of Katy’s early Gospel singing days and her parent’s disapproval — particularly her mother — towards the lyrics of her first single, ‘I Kissed a Girl.’ Hearts warm nonetheless, at the general love and support shown by Perry’s family in her endeavor to follow her dreams.

Although Katy Perry: Part of Me lacks depth — remaining light and fluffy for the majority of its duration — recycling a success story fans are all-too familiar with, the picture should appeal to Katy Perry fans who are simply looking for media to absorb, although it might disappoint those craving a cutting-edge documentary or startling insights into the starlet’s personal life. Part of Me also serves as the perfect vehicle to get rookies up to speed on the life and times of superstar, Perry. The film paints its leading lady as a down-to-earth star; always willing to connect with her fans, proving that she is the ‘real deal’ as her sweetness permeates the entire picture. Featuring plenty of feel-good musical numbers — apparently the 3D version of the film succeeds in literally bringing fans on-stage with Katy during her performances — and some unique behind-the-scenes elements, Katy Perry: Part of Me is perfectly pleasant fluffy entertainment.

3 / 5 – Good

Reviewed by Mr. Movie

Katy Perry: Part of Me is released through Paramount Pictures Australia