Katy Perry: Part of Me is not a concert film (although there is ample performance footage).
It is not a chronicle of this Candy Land Gaga’s life (although you do learn a great deal about her pre-fame years).
Part of Me is Perry’s visually spectacular testimonial to her own indomitable determination to follow her dreams. The fact that the film lends itself to some really colorful Pinterest pages is merely a bonus.
The image that will stick with you is of Perry, setting the spangled pinwheels on her chest spinning, striking a pose, holding up her sparkly microphone and smiling to beat the bandwagon as the elevator platform raises her up to stage-level to face her adoring fans. Showtime!
It’s how Perry began every stop on her yearlong globe-girdling California Dreams Tour, just before breaking into her first song “Teenage Dream.” Because we have already seen all the behind-the-scenes work that goes into producing a super splashy arena tour like this (seven tour buses! 16 trucks!), we’re continually stoked by the plucky professionalism of Katy’s opening. The first few times.
Round about day 214, fatigue has set in — for the viewers. But even more so for Katy. In addition to the notorious grind of touring, whenever there’s a down minute, she’s jetting off to spend time with her new hubby, Russell Brand (they’ve since split).
He is, as Warren Beatty was in Madonna’s similar on-the-road documentary Truth or Dare, a ghostly figure in the documentary, a rare presence in the dressing room and clearly annoyed when he is caught on camera.
Katy spends far more time with her friends, Mia Moretti and Shannon Woodward (of the Fox sitcom Raising Hope), in settings like the Cat Cafe in Tokyo, where one spends a mint to drink tea in a frilly room filled with pampered cats adorned in human fashions.
A large Part of Me is devoted to Katy’s origin story — how she grew up in a strict Pentecostal household. Her younger brother notes, “We weren’t allowed to eat Lucky Charms growing up because luck was of Lucifer.”
Thanks to a superabundance of home video, we watch Katy grow from saucer-eyed teen gospel singer to an angry Alanis-wanna-be who was dumped by her first label. It’s a long, and so-familiar-it’s-almost-tiresome hike to “I Kissed a Girl” and pop success. It’s a trek that is not all that interesting except to Perry’s fans.
What is worth seeing — and shelling out for the 3-D premium — is Perry’s eye-popping showmanship. All of this performance footage is splendidly shot and edited. Where you get shortchanged is on the music. Surely it wouldn’t hurt to hear a few songs in their entirety?
Part of Me is most intent on pulling back the curtain to show you how hard Katy worked to get where she is, and what a trouper she is — setting the pinwheels turning in Brazil only hours after Brand shattered her heart long distance.
Unless you’re already a Perry fan, you may come away from Part of Me feeling taken advantage of. Like you just paid someone to talk about themselves for two hours.
Katy Perry: Part of Me
Rated PG, 97 minutes. In 3-D. Opens Friday.