Katy Perry and Russell Brand’s Doomed Marriage Takes the Stage in ‘Part of Me’ 

ALTIn the 2011 tour documentary Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop, Team Coco supporters were faced with a hard reality. No, not that they still lived in a world where Jay Leno was, somehow, once again, the host of The Tonight Show. But that their beloved ginger comedy king wasn’t a perfect guy, after all. 

The unflinching Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop showed every side of funny man: the genius and the egomaniac, the focused and the frustrated. In the film, Conan O’Brien, who has a rabid fan base, expresses his dislike for meet-and-greets. Still, for those who love Conan, the documentary likely didn’t sway anyway off Team Coco, it just showed that the comedy god is a mere mortal like the rest of us: flawed. 

On the opposite end of the spectrum, there’s Katy Perry: Part of Me, the 3D concert spectacular/pop documentary about the chart-topping, candy-coated, Grammy-winning songstress, which opened in theaters on Thursday. Here, there are no ugly parts. Not really, anyway. Katy Perry, a larger-than-life pop starlet, even acknowledges in the movie that she is living a “fairy tale.” The 27-year-old, who practically lives for her meet-and-greets, is beautiful and talented and, as the film often suggests, is human, too. 
In Part of Me, the “E.T.” singer is seen as down-to-Earth, whether she’s visiting her sharp-as-a-tack, scene-stealing grandmother or that she found her place in music history, not by being a manufactured pop star, but by perseverance and sticking to her guns. Because, say what you will about Perry’s outrageous style or some of her more shallow ear worms like “California Gurls,” the singer has certainly earned her success.
Still, because Part of Me is an expertly edited 95-minute PSA on why Perry is the greatest thing since the very candy she’s often wearing, even the “ugly” parts come away making her look great. With her relationship with Gym Class Heroes front man Travie McCoy all but skipped over entirely in the documentary, Part of Me, instead gives focus to Perry’s short-lived marriage to actor/comedian/future failed talk show host Russell Brand. (Here are Perry and Brand pictured in happier times at the 2011 MTV Movie Awards.) 
Giving credit where it’s due, with the exception of certain reality stars, most high-profile celebrities tend to keep the intimate details of their relationships — or even more so, their breakups — to themselves. Here, Perry is putting it on a giant screen. In 3D. While there is no footage or mention of their whirlwind wedding, what moviegoers do see are tender moments between a smitten Perry and Brand backstage at her shows, before it all went bust. In one scene, Brand sweetly, funnily calls a tightly costumed Perry a “sausage.” In this moment, it’s easy to see why these two cute oddballs fell for each other. It is also likely to be the only moment her fans, the target audience for this film, won’t be seething with resentment towards Perry’s ex.
Brand is probably only seen on-screen for a total of five minutes in the entire movie, but his presence is felt throughout. When Brand disappears from sight (in the Perry-produced movie we see that she is the one putting in all the effort in their marriage) we watch as the bubbly Perry slips into exhaustion and depression. In Part of Me‘s rawest moment, moviegoers watch a distraught Perry have a meltdown before a show. (“She never cries,” a close friend marvels in the moment.) 
While it is undeniably fascinating to watch this real-life drama as it unfolded, it is, as the title suggests, really only part of it. It’s certainly admirable of Perry to show such a vulnerable moment, but she winds up coming off as both the victim and the hero here. The singer makes no apologies for being a dreamer who wants a happy ending, but even after her not-terribly-surprising split (the two, who had wildly conflicting Hollywood schedules, were engaged after only a few months of dating) Perry doesn’t seem to ever come down from her cotton candy cloud. Perry, unlike O’Brien, may be the eternal optimist, but at least in O’Brien’s darkest hour, he wasn’t so damn perfect: his feet touched the ground. 
[Photo credit: David Edwards/DailyCeleb.com]