Review of Katy Perry: Part of Me

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A 2012 3D documentary/concert film chronicling pop singer Katy Perry's rise to stardom as well as her life on and off-stage. Directed by Dan Cutforth & Jane Lipsitz.
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Movie Review: "Katy Perry: Part of Me"

-- Rating: PG
Length: 93 minutes
Release Date: July 5, 2012
Directed by: Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz
Genre: Documentary / Music
Cast: Full cast and crew

Katy Perry has become a pop sensation. Her elaborate costumes, sugary sound and colorful personality have helped her climb to the top of the charts. She is adored by millions of fans of all ages, and she has won numerous awards. Behind the antics and harlequin revelry, Perry is just a girl at heart. "Katy Perry: Part of Me" follows the zany starlet as she tours the world.

Perry's beginnings were more humble than you might expect. Her parents were Pentecostal Christian ministers, and their daughter grew up listening to gospel music. Mainstream music, videos and movies were forbidden, and her first guitar came from the church.

This documentary focuses on the theatricality of her music, but there is an underlying story. Perry had unwavering faith. She knew that she would make it one day. As a teen, this budding songbird focused on her vision day and night. Her belief and determination fueled her ambition, and her dream eventually materialized. The theme of the film is to believe because a person is only limited by imagination.

The secondary theme of the picture revolves around opposites. The audience will be surprised by many of the details revealed in the film. Perry's current lifestyle is a far cry from her strict and sheltered upbringing. The blond beauty with the doe eyes and second-hand guitar is now a glittered-up diva sporting a motley assortment of wigs and crazy outfits with moving parts, bright lights and wild accessories. Her concerts are intense theatrical events that rival a Brazilian carnival. Some of her getups can be a little suggestive, but the tone of the documentary is more fun than obscene.

As the songstress roams from town to town, her adoring fans line up to meet her. This is when her softer side is revealed. Underneath the glitz and the antics, Perry is just a girl living her dream. She hugs and greets her fans with the giddiness of a school girl. After all, she was one not too long ago. She is portrayed as a real person with a genuine spirit and loving heart.

Even those who are not familiar with Perry's music can appreciate this film. Her upbeat personality is infectious, and the soundtrack is catchy. This is one girl who knows how to put on a show. Her current followers will hear their favorite songs, and some may sing along and dance right in the theater. It's that kind of experience.

Directors Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz bring the vision to life in stunning 3D. These showbiz veterans are known for their work on such shows as "Project Runway," "Top Chef," and "Last Comic Standing." They understand art and entertainment, and it shows. They capture the essence of Perry in a way few others could. The pop star's persona is allowed to shine, and these two manage to capture the fun.

A film like this could easily be too loud, too colorful and over the top, but Cutforth and Lipsitz manage to balance the charm with the crazy. The result is a vivaciously good time tempered with humility. The Perry that is portrayed on film is warm, caring and sweet. She is entirely likeable, and the overall feel of the piece is warmhearted and charming. The directing style is smooth and focused. Audiences will walk away from this movie knowing what it feels like to be at one of Perry's flashy concerts.

This is a movie that families can see together. While the tunes may appeal to a younger set, adults will find things to enjoy. The music is infectious, and Perry's hits have a tendency to stick in one's head. The sets are colorful explosions of creativity that are genuinely imaginative and even whimsical. Perry appeals to the dreamer in everyone.

During the filming, Perry's marriage to actor Russell Brand was falling apart. While not the focus of the picture, audiences are given a glimpse into the emotional drama that was unfolding behind the scenes. Cutforth and Lipsitz handle the turmoil in a thoughtful and tender way. Perry comes across as a real person, and the chaos in her personal life does not slow her down. Through it all, she remains upbeat and true to herself. She is relatable, and audiences are sure to fall in love with her.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars