JUSTIN BIEBER: NEVER SAY NEVER
Director: Jon. M. Chu
Boyz 11 Men
Runtime: 105 mins.
Australian release date: 7 April 2011
Shot mainly in 2D, with 3D scenes weaved in from the 2010 sell-out Madison Square Concert, director, John M. Chu’s documentary, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never is a pretty good exposé of the rapid rise to fame of the perfectly coiffed kid from Canada. Justin Bieber is damn cute and talented to boot. He is also a social media-bred pop star who has a following of not only teenage girls, but also more mature ladies who all raise their hands in heart-shaped signs in the hope that they will become his wife - as one hopeful put it, ‘girls, leave him alone, he’s mine’.
Ooh baby, baby, baby, keep the dream alive, as the chance of getting near him is zero. Surrounded by a very close team which includes his estranged parents, doting grandparents, a voice coach, costume designer, his mentor, Usher, and his totally focused agent, Scooter Braun, Justin is a puppy held on a very tight leash. So tight in fact, he only gets to flick his fringe to the strains of a very slow ‘At Last’ by Etta James. That’s enough to make you want to undo his collar and let him run free.
The film opens with a mock-up of someone sending an email to someone else to say, “check this out” - a YouTube clip that is doing the rounds. Oh, bless social media! Before too long, Bieber is being thrust into the recording whirlpool and along the way he meets Usher (who seems a pretty grounded ‘nice’ guy), who, along with Bieber’s fledgling agent, Scooter, recognizes a talent that has potential. It’s not long before the aspiration of performing at Madison Square becomes a reality - the concert sold out in minutes.
And what a concert it is… with guest appearances by Jaden Smith, the very talented son of Will & Jada Pinkett Smith, and Miley Cyrus, the very talented daughter of Billy Ray Cyrus, we go on a scream-a-thon with the rest of the audience who are obviously enjoying themselves. This is hysteria not seen since the days of The Beatles and we get to hear Justin tell his audience to never give up, follow your dream, etc, etc, blah, blah… Meanwhile, his mother and other hangers-on are giving out free tickets to those lucky fans who missed out on buying one.
Fans will love this well-edited doco and cynics may well be surprised by Bieber’s obvious talent and the ordinary niceness of those who surround him. It is an interesting look inside the social networking machine and gives a clear picture of how different the machinations of the rise to fame will be in the future. I recommend you gather a bunch of friends, have a group hug and go along to see the film. When the glitter falls around you (well, on screen...) at the end, you will also feel inclined to chant, ‘Bieber, Bieber, Bieber…’ I did and it felt good!