Title: Justin Bieber: Never Say Never
Director: John Chu
Starring: Justin Bieber, Jaden Smith, Miley Cyrus, Boyz II Men, Usher, Sean Kingston, Scooter Braun
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Well after watching the near two-hour generic Behind The Music documentary that is “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never,” one should be glad the Biebs allows them to live in his world. You may not catch Bieber-fever after seeing this in theaters, but you may go deaf from all the tweens screaming the entire flick. That’s another story in itself.
This documentary of the 16 year-old music sensation tries to be humble in its approach. However, that is just not possible. For the atmosphere that engulfs Justin Bieber – the kid – is so mind-boggling that even an unbiased person and/or hater will be interested in exploring his world.
By the way, the 3D is worthless. Let’s move on.
Basically the flick follows Justin Bieber on his 2010 tour. It picks up ten days before his historic show at Madison Square Garden. A show that sold-out in 22 minutes. Of course he has concerts scheduled prior to the big MSG debut, and the camera captures bits and pieces of his life backstage along with a few choice performances. When the camera isn’t focusing on the present, a montage of video clips depicting young Bieber in his “formative” years are on display. His famous YouTube clips are littered throughout and a brief background is given to the audience who may not know – or do not insanely worship – the heir apparent to the pop stage.
For those that are interested in learning about where a musical act/persona came from, as well as what literally goes on in the backstage and tour bus area, this does a decent job of pulling back the curtain. Could have – and should have – been pulled back further though. With that said, even for someone who cannot stand the sound that the Biebs creates, it is ALMOST tolerable since the kid does have a mildly interesting story before his popularity ignited to elite status. Although one may prefer the sex, drugs and self-debauchery tales as seen in other musical docs, the clean-cut Bieber is a modern take that we may be seeing more of down the road in a digital society. It’s entertaining, but definitely not as fun as the former’s antics.
As for everything else that happens in this flick, their really isn’t much else to discuss. Cameos and duet performances range from Miley Cyrus to Ludacris, Boyz II Men (poor guys) to Usher and of course, a young Will Smith offspring has to show up somewhere. In this case, it’s young Jaden. The rest of the story is told via Bieber’s backstage crew and management. All of their reflections on the Biebs’ career thus far are surprisingly insightful. Again, as a documentary – which does get a little too cheerleader-ish as it presses on – it does the job. One simply cannot judge if the people behind this are holding anything back or not. If you’re a rabid fan (since their doesn’t seem to be any casual ones), it is questionable whether any of the information revealed will reveal anything new. The documentary more-or-less serves as a DVD extra to a concert rather than executing in-depth reporting for a biography.
What one needs to remember when reading this review and/or seeing this flick, is to look at it as a movie. Mechanically, it does a satisfactory job. Will it convince you to download the Bieber anthology? Not really. This footage is for the fans and it isn’t looking to convert any new followers. Plus, the kid doesn’t need any. Even though the documentary does attempt to keep all the lavish perks off camera, one can still tell that Bieber and the people around him are doing just fine. It’s kind of admirable that this isn’t a bragging piece to a certain extent. Seems more like a thank you to the Biebs’ fan club.
Overall, “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never” can enlighten a cynical audience if they find themselves seeing this piece (chances are you lost a bet or haven‘t learned to say no to your kids. Or it‘s part of you job!). Moments when the flick is obviously catering to his image exist, but these are few and far between. Sure the kid is untouchable right now and perhaps all the cheerleading is legit. If anything, one will laugh at the craziness of Bieber’s legions of fans. Tell you the truth (cause I was a liar up until this point), I had a smile on my face for most of the flick’s duration, due to all the fans‘ reactions, both on-screen and in the theater. I will add this too…The kid is talented, despite the commercialized sound…
And that’s also another story.
RATING: 4 out of 5
Review by Joe Belcastro