Susan Granger’s review of “Katy Perry: Part of Me” (Paramount Pictures)
Thousands of little girls dream of becoming pop stars – but Katy Perry did it, reigning supreme as the only female artist to have five chart-topping singles from one album.
In this documentary, directors Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz (“Justin Bieber: Never Say Never”) intercut concert footage from Perry’s “California Dreams” 2011 world tour with backstage scenes, vintage home videos and intimate interviews and glimpses of family and friends, including ex-husband, British actor/comedian Russell Brand, whom she divorced while the movie was being made.
Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson was born on October 25, 1984, in Santa Barbara, California. Guided by her Pentecostal minister parents, Katy and her siblings were strictly sheltered, forbidden access to stories like “Alice in Wonderland” and “The Wizard of Oz,” which were considered “satanic.” They couldn’t consume “pagan” Lucky Charms breakfast cereal or watch “The Smurfs.” They weren’t allowed to see “Sister Act” although their parents relented by the time “Sister Act II” rolled around. While it’s not surprising that Katy got her start as a Christian gospel singer, her ambitious transition from acoustic/hotel crooner to dazzling megastar is amazing.
Influenced by Alanis Morissette’s feminism, Katy’s first hit was the mildly scandalous “I Kissed a Girl,” which aptly reflects adolescent bi-sexual curiosity. With Katy Perry, what you see is what you get. Offstage, she’s still an attention-seeking kewpie doll, working hard to achieve her Candyland artistic persona and allowing filmmakers to chronicle even her most tearful, melodramatic moments of marital despair, occurring just before a huge outdoor show in Brazil.
One cannot help admiring how Katy pays rapt attention to her fans, one of whom admits, “She tells me it’s okay to be me,” while another burbles, “I’ve been listening to her since I first heard her!”
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Katy Perry: Part of Me” is a sparkly, sequined 7, aimed at fanatic preteens who dissolve when Katy, as she rises from a hole in the stage to perform before a packed stadium, confesses: “This moment is my childhood dream come true.”