February 22, 2018

We See too Much of Katy Perry in “Part of Me”

By Julie Samrick

“I look 16, and I act 16, but I’m not 16,” Katy Perry says at one point to a young fan in her 3D documentary concert movie, Part of Me, where cameras follow her over the course of her 365 day world tour in 2011.  That’s just what I was thinking- the brightly colored 3D movie looks like it should be for young girls, and there are parts that will appeal to them, but it’s not as young and girlish as it seems. 


Stories and interviews intertwined with Katy’s live concert performances of the songs off her “Teenage Dream” album move the film along, but the best parts of the film are the pictures and home movies of a young Katy pre-stardom. She is shown singing gospel music during her childhood years and then video diaries of a teenage Katy are shown that express her prophetic dreams for the future.  These sweet, earlier moments make the film and her fans are sure to love them.  Katy’s family and friends who make up her entourage also give interviews to fill in how Katy rose to fame.  In large part it’s an American success story about hard work and sacrifice and it’s amazing that so much memorabilia was saved to document it.


However, things take a turn and we get a little too much information when Katy talks about how “people love a story of a good girl gone bad.” She talks about her Christian background and how she eventually rebelled against her family’s values by ditching gospel music for songs like the one that first made her a household name- “I Kissed a Girl (And I Liked It).”  Her parents sit uncomfortably through their interviews during this phase.   I felt bad for them, as Katy talked in too much depth about (even mocking) her devoutly Christian parents. For younger viewers, I wished she’d skipped straight to the part where she eventually says she still has a relationship with God. 


The movie is PG for other heavy emotional issues. While Katy’s fans and her desire to be in the spotlight are what fuel her throughout, we also get a look into her relationship with actor comedian Russell Brand and how her grueling year-long concert schedule ended their brief marriage.


There are also plenty of provocative details for younger viewers, which should actually earn the film a PG-13 rating. In the first five minutes of the movie Katy is trying on various costumes when she yelps, “This one makes my ass look like Nicki Minaj!” The enhancement of her chest in many costumes and the performances to songs like “I wanna see your peacock!” are just too suggestive for the bubble gum pop audience it tries to reach.


Though the 3D feature had some neat moments, like bubbles and beach balls during concert sequences that made them appear close enough to touch, it wasn’t worth the steep price of 3D admission. As my 10-year-old said when I told him the movie was 3D, “Aren’t movies about sharks or piranhas supposed to be in 3D?  Why would one about a concert be?”  I couldn’t have said it any better, except somehow the 3D glasses cast us perfectly in Katy Perry’s uber-costume world. 


Still, for a mother/ daughter day of bonding, I say skip Part of Me and go look at the fashions at the mall instead.


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