Film & TV

"Justin Bieber -- Never Say Never 3D" Review: As Bad as You'd Expect

The Bieber movie, a concert experience and origin-myth documentary, is not good — not that it needs to be. It is draggily paced and lacks felicity of form; the 3-D is a rip-off, and the songs are pap, save a snippet of Etta James singing "At Last" while Bieber's glossy fringe sways in slow motion. The buildup to a Madison Square Garden climax concert roughly structures Never Say Never; a throat infection creates the threat of cancellation before "get well" Tweets reinforce Bieber's rededication to the showbiz grind and "u," the fans. Interspersed is a retelling of Bieber's journey from small-town boy in Stratford, Ontario, to the outbreak of Bieber Fever. A convincing case is made that the YouTube phenom was a talented kid with a knack for sponging up Top 20 radio styles when promoter "Scooter" Braun discovered him. From there, the movie admiringly details the stoking of a phenomenon by Braun and Team Bieber. There's no scrimping on the Bieber here — we see him serenading onstage, shirtless in the dressing room, in home videos, and in "candid" hometown visits — but he's a curiously vague presence, obscured in the shadow of this monument to his brand.

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Nick Pinkerton
Contact: Nick Pinkerton