Justin Bieber: Never Say Never

4 Apr

Title: Justin Bieber: Never Say Never
Jon Chu
Justin Bieber, Usher, Miley Cyrus, Jaden Smith, Sean Kingston, Snoop Dogg, Ludacris, Boyz II Men
MPAA Rating:
105 min
Major Awards:

IMDb Rating:
Rotten Tomatoes:


I had seen 13 films with a 2011 release date prior to watching Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, and I hadn’t given any of them a failing grade, and I was fully expecting this one to be the first one to receive a grade in the D-range. But, alas, it wasn’t to be, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never won’t receive a failing grade from me, and, what’s more, it’s not even the worst film I’ve seen this year so far.

You see, I’m not a Bieber fan, not even close, but I do acknowledge that the boy knows how to do his thing, he knows his target audience, he knows how to give them what they want, and he’s a millionaire at seventeen. Say what you may about him, but picture yourself at seventeen, now picture yourself at seventeen and being able to ask for, at a minimum, $300’000 a night to sing ‘Baby’. You’re lying if tell me you wouldn’t swallow that ego, whip up that hair gel and start sounding like a little girl in order to make little girls crazy.

But that’s just my assessment of Bieber, as for my take on the tour-docu I’ll just say that as a documentary of the guy’s music life it isn’t that great, I mean, it’s no Gimme Shelter, it’s no Some Kind of Monster, it’s no Don’t Look Back. It’s none of those things, not even close, my opinion on that may be because I wasn’t interested in seeing the process of him making music and footage from him on tour, much less if it had to be shown in some overpriced 3D technology. But, what keeps me from failing this film is the part that really entertained me, which was the look we get at Justin Bieber, not the musician, but the world phenomenon.

Because that’s really what’s so fascinating about the Biebster, how much he’s adored by swarms of tween girls who go nuts at the sight of him. And at showing that aspect of his life Justin Bieber: Never Say Never really does succeed, it makes the kid seem like he was some sort of demigod. And what it shows will have us non-fans thinking about the impact this kid’s had in the past few years and how it all came to be. And will have those fanatic girls screaming with joy by being able to have a look at the kid’s life, which is all full of well-directed charm, and at some of his songs done live, all in three dimensions.

This film really is the perfect promotional material, because, much like Bieber himself, it knows exactly who its audience is and because, and this is quite rare for any film, it makes good use of the 3D technology. Honestly, I mean, the 3D here consists of Bieber just coming out of the screen, and then his hand reaching out when he’s performing, and that may do nothing to us non-Bielibers, but to the hoards of fangirls, that stuff really strikes a chord.

The kid’s pretty hardworking, I’ll give him that, and I liked that part of the movie because it changed my perception of the kid (which was basically me thinking he was just a kid that looked like Hilary Swank who liked purple and had a trademark hairdo). I mean, he goes at it like it’s nobody’s business, and he’s super professional about everything, going about his entrepeneurship with both a sense of relentless persistence and a down-to-earth attitude, which is what helped him impress Usher a couple years ago and is helping him now in his quest to get purple to pass yellow in the color dominance charts.

I didn’t like Justin Bieber before this film, mostly because I didn’t like his music and thought he was as obnoxious as his fans were, but after watching this film I have a newfound appreciation for the guy. And as that I guess Justin Bieber: Never Say Never really worked, I mean, it’s as though Bieberism was a religion (which it probably is, come to think about it) and the film was an infomercial to try and get you to convert it. But in the deeper levels, those that the best music documentaries I listed above really have going on, it falls flat. We end up liking the kid, but we don’t really know how he is underneath that Yankee cap, we see him embracing his fans, but we don’t really get to know if he misses his real friends and doing stuff a normal seventeen year-old would be doing.

I won’t recommend this film to everyone, I personally won’t watch it again, because it’s not that good as a music docu, no matter the subject. But if you really dig the guy, then go watch it, you’ll get to hear quite a lot of songs and see that now-gone hair in all three dimensions. And, if you think you hate the kid but you don’t really know why, then give this one a chance, it might just change your mind.

Grade: C


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