Rated G, 105 minutes
Pleasant Bieber concert film shows the boy has got it
No, I do NOT have Bieber fever, though I will admit that I liked "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never" more than I thought I would. I'm still not a huge fan of his music, but this enjoyable behind-the-scenes documentary concert film shows the boy wonder (and a Canadian no doubt!) does have talent, charm and the ability to attract a huge, huge female fan base. Even non-fans will have a little more respect for this young teen who has already sold millions of records and become a worldwide phenomenon.
The film tells the story of Bieber's discovery and rise to stardom, all as it follows Bieber on his 2010 concert tour. There are loads of interviews with family, friends, business associates and the like, not to mention lots of pictures and videos of a very young Justin before he got his start. Fans and non-fans will learn of Justin's humble upbringing - he was raised largely by a single mother and his grandparents in a suburb of Toronto, Canada - not to mention he was just a normal boy who enjoyed sports and had a keen interest in music. After he won a talent contest, his mother posted some of his videos on You Tube, and the rest is history.
"Justin Bieber: Never Say Never" is a pleasantly satisfying surprise for a couple of big reasons. For one, the boy has a charm and talent that few his age possess, and two, he isn't part of the faux-squeaky clean Disney or Nickelodeon machine. The insight into Bieber's background is what most revealing about the film, and he seems to be a genuinely nice, normal guy who has hit it big (he eats donuts out of the trash, dude please). Sure, the concert scenes are also fun, but his rags- to-riches story is by far the more interesting part of the movie.
The challenge with the film will be finding a large, mainstream audience outside of Bieber's large, almost exclusively female fan base, who seem to stalk the boy at every appearance. Initially it's fun to see some of his squealing young fans, but then a shade creepy when they show some of his fans who are a little old for something like this. Still, it's all good, clean fun, even with the likes of Miley Cyrus (Hannah who?), Usher (who helped discover Bieber), Boys II Men and Sean Kingston.
No, I won't be rushing to download any Bieber songs anytime soon, nor will I style my hair the way he does, but I'll say that the fresh-faced, lithe Bieber has the talent and charm to last longer than anyone named Miley or Jonas.