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Justin Bieber: Never Say Never (3D)


Stars: Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Jaden Smith

Director: Jon Chu

I’m not the target demographic for this well-made biopic of the celebrated 16-year-old Canadian pop singer that takes him from small-town Canada to a sell-out (we’re told the tickets went in 22 minutes) concert in New York’s Madison Square Gardens. His fans – eminently well covered in director Chu’s film, are predominantly tweenage girls whose feelings (when they’re not screaming or bouncing in time to the music and his on-stage strutting) for their hero range from “I think about him 99% of my life”, “So cute!” to “He’s adorable!” They'll love the movie - their hero sings, dances, is photographed with them and even removes his shirt.

Chu does a good job of making a documentary that works as a piece of film to keep non-believers (not that I imagine many will actually go and see the movie) from walking out or throwing bricks at the screen. Bieber’s early life in Stratford, Ontario is told using home video sequences, interviews with family and friends and the You Tube performance clips that made him famous and brought him to the attention of his manager Scooter Brown. Those sequences are intercut with backstage and performance footage from Bieber’s 2010 tour which culminated in Madison Square Gardens and show the star to be the key support to a surprisingly large entourage of collaborators and family members. Not so much a solo star as a major industry.

While Bieber (who is shown to be an impressive drummer) may no be your cup of pop tea, ‘Never Say Never’ tells his story – or, rather, the story they want you to see (his brush with swollen vocal chords just prior to New York seems a little too useful as a suspense motif) – effectively, using cameos from Miley Cyrus and Jaden Smith keeping keep the musical brew simmering and not throwing too much at you with good 3D filming.

And now we know another celebrated Canadian to add to William Shatner, Pamela Anderson and Jim Carrey.

PS: the marks are for fans: non believers must make up their own minds.

Alan Frank

USA 2011. UK Distributor: Paramount. Colour.
105 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: U.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 16 Feb 2011