A movie about a woman who makes a living selling a drag exaggeration of female sexuality stripped of actual sex for consumption by children, Katy Perry: Part of Me is completely uninterested in the contradictions that propel Perry's persona. Instead, directors Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz track Perry's odyssey from failed teenage gospel singer to Alanis Morissette wannabe to world-beating superstar who learns while on tour that she has broken the record for most number-one singles off a single album for any female star, ever. The film (presented in never-less-necessary 3-D) documents Perry's 2011 world concert tour, weaving together onstage and backstage footage while video diaries dating back a decade suggest Perry has been filming herself in preparation for this moment. The filmmakers seem primarily interested in Perry's concerts as a source of b-roll illustration (the hyper-cutty pace means numbers are rarely shown from beginning to end). An early shot of a pre-celebrity Perry posing with Judy Garland's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame turns out to be Chekhovian: Part of Me later takes a cue from Garland's great A Star Is Born, depicting Perry's ability to snap out of a crying jag (sparked by her then-marriage to Russell Brand) when it's time to go onstage to sing "The One That Got Away" (the song title itself an echo of Garland's Star ballad "The Man That Got Away"). Like Garland's character, Perry's character (and it is a character) turns personal loss into professional power, sacrificing herself to the crowd to be resurrected by their devotion.
Dan Cutforth, Jane LipsitzKaty PerryCraig Brewer, Brian Grazer, Ron HowardParamount Pictures