Leave it to Bieber

It’s like his hand is gently caressing my face

It’s like his hand is gently caressing my face

Rated 3.0

I kind of like Justin Bieber. He’s like a young Leonardo DiCaprio, all the members of Hanson, a short Keira Knightley and Justin Timberlake rolled into one little cherubic pop star.

His new 3-D epic bio/documentary movie, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, is a big, happy film that showcases his undeniable talents and tells the story of his rise to fame. It also, in its own little way, justifies his fame. He really is quite good at what he does, and I consider him miles ahead of other pop phenomena like the Jonas Parasites.

The move tells his already quite impressive back-story while treating fans to live, well-staged music numbers featuring some decent dancing. We get to see Lil’ Bieber on the road to his big sold-out show at Madison Square Garden—while actually seeing footage of that concert throughout the film, which is a little confusing. The MSG footage is a kick, even if you aren’t a major fan of his music, but the best stuff in this movie doesn’t require 3-D. You could actually see the best footage from Never Say Never on YouTube years ago.

Bieber got his start on Twitter and YouTube, with his mom posting captivating videos of this little man singing up a storm. Let it be said that Bieber boasts some major pipes, and those pipes have soul. He’s a real singer. I was struck by Bieber’s ability to play the drums as a tyke and one particular video where he strummed an acoustic on a city street while singing away.

The music? Eh, it’s OK. It’s bubblegum pop stuff at its most harmless. Some of the musical numbers feature special guests like Ludacris, Miley Cyrus, Boys II Men, Jaden Smith and Usher. As it turns out, Usher played a big part in the rise of The Bieber, having been the first big “star” to notice him.

Going into Never Say Never, I didn’t know that Bieber was raised by a single mother who was only 18 when she had him. The movie shows him playing drums, guitar and piano, which he apparently taught himself, along with the trumpet. Also, I didn’t know he was from Canada. It just kind of makes him cooler that he’s from Canada.

Previously, all I knew about him was that he has the admirable ability to laugh at himself. He was great in his sketch with Tina Fey last year on Saturday Night Live, and a few weeks ago with the Church Lady on the same show. The film even has some 3-D fun with his already somewhat legendary hairdo.

Bieber fans definitely get a little out of hand in this movie. There’s footage of Bieber being attacked while riding his scooter and onstage. Girls shriek with the same sort of hysteria that marked the Beatles’ rise to fame. Now, Bieber hasn’t got anything on the Beatles, but don’t tell that to his rabid fans. They are liable to eat your face off.

If you like Bieber, you can’t help but worry for his welfare a little bit. He seems to have a good head on his shoulders, so here’s to hoping he’s not going down the Michael Jackson road to fatal eccentricity. The movie points out a moment when Bieber says, “Hey, don’t let that happen to me!” to one of his entourage, so he seems to be aware of the pitfalls of fame. If he starts running around with a baby chimpanzee, I’m calling the authorities.

I went to a screening of this late on a Friday night with a friend of mine, and we were the only grown men in the theater. We were prepared to kind of goof on the movie, but we wound up enjoying it. Hell, we were the last ones out of the theater. We were a little sluggish walking into the parking lot because, and it cannot be denied … we had BIEBER FEVER!!!