Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, the movie that will be referenced at barbecues throughout the summer as "that movie from the guys who did 'Dick in a Box'" (a.k.a. The Lonely Island), features a great parody of Macklemore's "Same Love." Andy Samberg's Bieber-esque Conner4Real sings about his love of marriage equality, while, with escalating frequency and intensity, he reminds fans that he's 100% heterosexual. But another moment in Popstar proves that an era of homophobic jokes in films could be coming to an end, even in comedies created by the minds behind "I Just Had Sex."
Toward the middle of the film, Conner is trapped in his limo with his BFF and frenemy, boxed in by a crush of screaming fans. A woman pressing her naked breasts against the glass becomes a moment of triumph for Conner, and as he turns to brag about his fans' devotion, the breasts are replaced with another fan's completely exposed penis. Conor is not at all pleased to find this swap, but gamely signs the man's member (making sure to use some hand sanitizer afterward).
The clip isn't going to win a GLADD Award. It would play better if Conner considered this proffered piece of anatomy with as much smug pride as the breasts, turning to his fellow passengers to again say how much his fans love him. But it's still a marked change from the kind of gay-panic gag that might have found its way into a comparable comedy even last year.
Last week, Seth Rogen acknowledged that some previous films featured homophobic jokes that wouldn't make it into one of his movies now. And a supercut put out by GLADD just last year shows not only how much work needs to be put into LGBT visibility in film, but in removing the kind of casually or blatantly offensive jokes that have become commonplace on screen. This scene in Popstar isn't a hallmark of tolerance. But hopefully, it's a sign that homophobic jokes are on their way to becoming an embarrassing piece of film history.