In honour of Canada’s newest national holiday, Justin Bieber’s Birthday, I decided to take in a documentary, specifically, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never - Director’s [Fan] Cut in 3D.
Don't be fooled; Never Say Never is not a prequel to the 1983 James Bond film, Never Say Never Again. Rather, it's a documentary style look at the rise of teen-pop sensation Justin Bieber, with his sold-out Madison Square Garden performance as a backdrop for the story. However, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never is not so much a documentary as it is a commercial for the Bieber Media Empire. But if Old Spice has taught us anything, it’s that commercials can be legitimately entertaining narratives.
It’s fascinating to watch as a cross-section of our interconnected, socially-networked human experience. Five years ago, this story never would have happened. Bieber had no agent, no professional training, and no industry connections. Bieber’s talent-show performances were discovered on YouTube, a free hosting site. He had self promotion through Twitter, a free messenger service. The Internet may not be the perfect equalizer, but it certainly levels the playing field.
If I may put on my “One Semester of Documentary Screenwriting in College” hat, I will draw your attention to a bit of drama in the third act, when a doctor advises him to cancel a show because of a throat infection. This is due to a lack of rest, brought on by Bieber’s congenial personality and a refusal to stop talking. This neglect, and the cancelled performance that resulted from it, could have been a learning moment, or at least a moral lesson, but in the film he got sick, cancelled a show, and got better. Not much dramatic rise and fall, but I honestly wasn’t expecting a hard-hitting look into a tortured psyche.
Truth be told the only Justin Bieber song that I’ve listened to all the way through was “U Smile” slowed down 800% (which has since disappeared from the Internet. Come over to my house if you want to listen to it, it’s pretty trippy), so I never had a major opinion on him one way or the other. After watching his biogrammercial, he appears to be a legitimately talented, charismatic, hard-working kid with the ego that you would expect from a teenage boy with millions of fans. He's a bit obnoxious, but it's really hard to hate a guy after watching so much home video of him as a toddler.
I honestly can’t recommend you go out of your way to see Never Say Never, but if your woman wants to watch something sugary for movie night, you could do a whole lot worse. And you’ll probably get major boyfriend points if you sing along to “Baby” during the finale (they put the words up on the screen).
Happy birthday, Justin Bieber.
Get well soon.