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(2012) (Documentary) (PG)

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Documentary: Katy Perry's year-long concert tour is presented in 3-D, which covers a period of time when the singer realized great personal success and personal heartbreak as her marriage crumbled.
The documentary charts the rise of pop star KATY PERRY who recently became the first performer in history to have five No. 1 hits featured on a single album. The audience learns of her upbringing as the daughter of a husband-and-wife team of traveling Pentecostal Christian ministers. They see her early success recording a Gospel album in Nashville, followed by her eventual coming of age and moving to Los Angeles to make it in the music business.

Far from an overnight sensation, Perry struggles for several years but is eventually signed to Capitol Records and shoots to stardom on the back of the controversial hit single, "I Kissed a Girl." The film chronicles her latest world tour, with a grueling schedule that takes Perry, her supportive sister ANGELA HUDSON, her circle of friends, and supporters to a whirlwind list of venues in Las Vegas, Japan, and Brazil.

At the same time, she meets comedian RUSSELL BRAND who she marries. But the stress of dueling stardom and the demands of her tour put distance between the two, and the marriage falls on hard times. Perry learns of Brand filing for divorce just prior to a major concert in Sao Paulo, and she must overcome her extreme sadness and depression to put on the show.

OUR TAKE: 6 out of 10
Concert films and hero-worship documentaries are funny films to review. In most cases, these kinds of flicks were made with the star or the musical group's fans in mind. Even the ones that purport to show their subjects "warts and all" pull their punches and keep them close to the golden light of adoration. So, I think the first task on the reviewer's part is "Will the film entertain these fans and give them their money's worth?"

On this level and by that criteria, the new "Katy Perry: A Part of Me" succeeds greatly. The film will give the pop singer's massive fan base a definite peek behind the scenes of the star's guarded personal life and dizzying entertaining chronicle of her recent year-long world tour that took Perry and her legion of musicians, dancers, tech crew, roadies, and enablers to such far-flung ports of call as Japan, Brazil, England, Las Vegas, and North Carolina.

Shot in 3-D, the film is eye-popping, eye-filling, eye-opening, eye- Aw, heck. Just consult with an optician before heading out to see it. Perry comes across as a dedicated singer and songwriter who goes out of her way to send her fans home from her shows feeling they got their money's worth. The same attention to entertainment value is brought to the screen here. All of her big hits from "California Gurls" and "Teenage Dream" to "Firework" and "Last Friday Night" are performed here live on stage with great fanfare and spectacle. Even if you had front row tickets at one of Perry's concerts, you haven't had a visual experience like this with the singer.

At the same time, the film has a bit more depth than recent similar films spotlighting the likes of Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus in that the filmmakers lucked into Perry's marriage to actor-comedian Russell Brand disintegrating as Perry's tour drags on and her fame soars higher and higher. Brand is just on the fringes, the peripheral of this film. But we can feel the tug of celebrity, of time demands, of just geographic distance on the couple, and it is sad when you see Perry being led to the stage bawling her eyes out after just learning of his filing for divorce but still having to perform to thousands in Brazil - a climax the makers couldn't possibly have foreseen when starting this project.

On the downside, there's really nothing in the film that will turn a non-fan into a fan of Perry and make the film watchable. The drag of Perry's extremely ambitious world tour ends up working against the film. It feels long. In 3-D, it does exhaust the senses.

Bottom line. For Perry fans, I give the film an 8 out of 10. For non-fans, I can rate it no better than a 4 out of 10. But average that out, and you get a perfectly respectable 6 out of 10. (T. Durgin)

Reviewed July 2, 2012 / Posted July 5, 2012

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