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Justin Bieber: Never Say Never

JUSTIN BIEBER: NEVER SAY NEVER 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; ennobling marketing hustle, JB: NSN is A Hard Day's Night half devoted to Brian Epstein. There's no scrimping on the Bieber here — we see him serenading onstage, shirtless in the dressing room, in home videos and "candid" hometown visits — but he's a curiously vague presence, obscured in the shadow of this monument to his brand. (Nick Pinkerton) (Citywide)


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