Today’s lesson: Never say ‘never’ to a G-rated documentary about a teenage phenom. Justin Bieber: Never Say Never is actually quite good – even if you aren’t an 8 to 12 year-old-girl stricken with Bieber Fever.
The movie basically explains Bieber’s rise to fame – from a cute Canadian boy with a series of amateur videos on YouTube to an international sensation who can sell out Madison Square Garden in 22 minutes. It shows how Justin was raised by a teenage mother (and her parents), “discovered” by a steadfast young record exec, and mentored by R&B star Usher – all the while staying relatively grounded for a 16 year old with millions of obsessive fans. It’s hard not to like the kid and his seemingly well-meaning entourage who seek to protect their protégé – and reward his loyal following – in the midst of a grueling tour.
The structure of the documentary works against the movie to some degree by counting down to a grand performance at the Garden. Ten days can feel really long in celluloid time. But overall, the music keeps you engaged. The movie also features special appearances by the likes of Usher, Boyz II Men, Jaden Smith, and the rage-against-the-Disney-machine that made her a star… Miley Cyrus. One can only hope that Justin doesn’t follow in her footsteps! Time will tell.
Having now seen Never Say Never (with my target demo tag-along and her gal pals), I finally understand the Bieber effect and the signature hair flip. The kid’s not the greatest singer in the world, but he is definitely the real package deal, with acting, singing, dancing, drumming, strumming and keyboard chops. It’ll be interesting to see where he is 5,10, 20 years from now. If he stays true to his present course, the kid could definitely go places. I’m rooting for him.
p.s. There’s no reason – as far as I could see- to pay extra for the 3D version. And while I’m not suggesting this movie is for everybody, if you’ve got a Bieber fan in your life, consider going along for the ride. You might just end up with a low-grade Bieber Fever yourself.