Justin Bieber: Never Say Never
Pleasing biography of the teen pop phenomena Discuss this article
Bieber mania reaches its zenith! Pessimists will liken Jon Chu’s polished and proficient all-access documentary to an apocalyptic sign of the times. (An adolescent phenom gets a big-screen biography? Where’s that razor?) The converted shall preach the gospel with ear-shattering shrieks and hands raised in heart-shaped ecstasy. Can there be a middle ground? Born to a teenage mother, 16-year-old Bieber gained prominence through a series of YouTube videos that caught the attention of Usher and talent manager Scooter Braun. Beneath the innocu-pop surface is a kid with a ton of musical aptitude (home videos show him playing the drums as if it were an innate instinct). But as he’s now a corporate commodity, it’s unlikely he’ll be given room to develop properly.
Chu does his best to humanize his subject, showing him surrounded by friends and family, and wringing much drama from an on-the-road vocal-cord strain. Yet the singer’s celebrity dictates the overall arc must be glibly inspirational. Still, the biggest surprise is that Bieber seems unfazed by all the cooks in the kitchen; it’s as if he’s holding something special back, to be unveiled at a later date. Hopefully, the machine won’t grind this one down before his prime.
Time Out Bahrain,