Early review: Justin Bieber's 3-D 'Never Say Never'

Updated: 2011-01-30 14:50


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LOS ANGELES - They'll laugh, they'll cry, they'll squeal, they'll smile, and after some 100 minutes of heart-racing, in-your-face 3-D footage, even the most casual of teen fans and the stodgiest of parents will exit the movie theater a complete Justin Bieber convert.

At least that was our experience viewing an early screening of Justin Bieber's movie "Never Say Never" (out February 11) at Paramount studios, just down the road from the "Glee" set, where two of Bieber's own hits -- "Baby" and "Somebody to Love" -- were in heavy rotation as the cast shot the show's upcoming Valentine's Day episode.

It was a fitting coincidence considering how much heart the film oozes at every turn - from Bieber's earliest performances behind the drum kit at a neighbor's house, to his time in Atlanta, where he wowed Usher and Island Def Jam head L.A. Reid, to middle school showcases, state fairs, and finally, the arena stage. If one theme is a constant: it's how musical this 16-year-old truly is.

Of course, it will be no surprise to the Justin Bieber loyalists of the world that "Never Say Never" tells a truly uplifting story of a small-town-kid who sees his big city dreams come true. Those kids have been there from the get-go, watching fuzzy Youtube clips, obsessing over every flip of the hair and bat of the eyelashes, tweeting incessantly and pushing for their guy when the pop world was rolling its eyes at the thought of a Jonas successor.

In fact, the tight-knit Bieber camp welcomes the challenge and relishes in being the underdog -- manager Scooter Braun says so himself in the movie. But they have a greater purpose: spreading love, be it through a sea of hand-shaped hearts, irresistible pop ditties like "Smile," "Eenie Meenie," and "Baby," or the swoon-worthy "One Less Lonely Girl," which, like N Sync before Bieber (remember "God Must Have Spent A Little More Time On You"), hits female tweens at the core, and even finds one lucky lady brought up onto the stage.

The beauty of 3-D is that anyone can feel like they're the girl plucked from the crowd and invited to watch the show from the front row (team Bieber gifts several fans at every tour stop), but the effects go way beyond just having a good seat, you get to see everything -- from behind-the-scenes to above the stage, the dressing room where Bieber, you know, dresses, to the tour bus to his hometown, in Stratford, Ontario, where life as its most famous resident couldn't get more surreal. But bring your earplugs, parents, and expect the shriek volume to hit the red zone with every point of Bieber's finger -- and there are many.

The timing for "Never Say Never" couldn't be better. On February 6, Bieber will appear in a Best Buy ad that airs during the Super Bowl. Two days after the movie's release, Bieber will be at the Grammy Awards, where he's nominated for Best New Artist and Best Pop Vocal album. On the 15th, "Glee" airs. Does that mean Bieber fever is about to hit its peak? To the contrary. It's more like this team is just getting started.


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