With his casually tussled hair, roguish smile and trademark purple hoodie, crafty Canadian Justin Bieber has taken the world by storm, worming his way into the hearts of tween-age girls all over. It’s an epidemic: Bieber Fever. This past week, The Biebs was everywhere — from “Saturday Night Live” and “The Daily Show” to hanging out with Pauly D from “Jersey Shore” — promoting the release of his new movie, “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never.”
“Justin Bieber: Never Say Never”
At Rave and Quality 16
The movie is a compilation of concert footage and performances of Bieber’s hit songs, intermixed with home video footage of his success story. Justin grows from a five-year-old kid drumming on the kitchen table to a 16 year old with the star power to sell out Madison Square Garden. His progression is interrupted by interviews with fans, commentary from his manager Scooter Braun and appearances from other musicians ranging from Usher to Miley Cyrus. The best cameo appearance, though, is Snoop Dogg, who tells Bieber he should get rid of his trademark hairdo and get some braids “with accessories.”
The Biebs has undeniable charisma and it’s easy to see how he has amassed such a large group of fans — people who can say, with straight faces and determination, “One day, Justin and I will be husband and wife.” Or husband and husband, if you count the creepy old man rocking out to Bieber’s hit “Baby” at the 11:00 showing of “Never Say Never” last Friday. The film tries to focus on how the star stays cool and grounded in the midst of all this craziness.
Rather than becoming a serious look into the life of a pop sensation, “Never Say Never” is more of a propaganda piece. But it works to a point — Bieber does come across as an ordinary kid with really nice managers and as someone that gives out free tickets for his concerts to unsuspecting fans. You learn he’s not perfect (he once broke the leg on his grandpa’s prized taxidermized fox and blamed it on his friend), but he prays for the strength to be better and believes in his dreams.
At the same time, having to watch Justin Bieber give back to his community again and again is overkill. Though the movie would have us believe that this 16-year-old boy spends all of his time doing nice things for people, it’s just not possible. And trying to make Bieber out to be a run-of-the-mill kid completely underscores how extraordinary his story actually is.
For one thing, as a music producer mentions, Justin Bieber has accomplished more than *NSYNC had in its day — and he got to where he is now by harnessing the power of the Internet. Currently, JB has over seven million followers on Twitter — for a sense of comparison, President Obama only has six million. Combine that savvy with his charm, and he becomes a force to be reckoned with. But to neglect this part of his story so entirely and fill the movie with creepy 3-D shots of him shaking his infamous locks or all the different moments that he spends praying make it a little painful to sit through.
Bieber and his team insist that he will not be subject to the traditional child star tragedy. But all the manipulation involved in crafting of Bieber’s image in “Never Say Never” doesn’t exactly make him seem any different from a Michael Jackson or a Macaulay Culkin.