Bieber Fever Spreads to San Francisco Theaters with 'Never Say Never'
Got a weakness for windswept bowl cuts? Like your pinup boys safe, clean-cut and Canadian? Are you a 14-year-old girl with a pulse? If your answer to any of these questions is yes, you might just have a case of Bieber Fever.
Formerly quarantined to concert halls, the Internet and the streets of Stratford, Ontario, where the young pop star once wowed passersby with acoustic renditions of his favorite songs, the Justin Bieber contagion has spread to the screen, where he bares all (figuratively, ladies) in John Chu’s 3-D documentary Never Say Never.
Whether you’re among the initiated or hopelessly oblivious to the madness gripping millions of fans – roughly 400 of whom crowded into the Metreon on Wednesday to scream, dance and wave their glow sticks furiously in celebration of Bieber’s greatness – it’s easy to appreciate Chu’s feature-length take on a prodigy’s rise to the top.
For anyone who doubts Bieber’s credentials, Never should put your skepticism to rest. Far from a manufactured product of the Auto-Tune generation, Bieber, 16, took to the drums as a child and is now an accomplished percussionist, trumpeter, guitarist and pianist. And, in case you missed it, the boy can sing.
Never traces his journey from Stratford, where he once placed second in a rising-star contest, to New York’s Madison Square Garden, an arena of near-mythic status that will be lost on much of the film’s target audience. The movie is a slick, handsome product – the 3-D really invigorates the live footage – and if Bieber’s authorized biography seems incomplete, well, that’s why they make sequels.
Chu seems more interested in chronicling the Web-assisted creation of a post-pubescent superstar than in probing Bieber’s personality, but no matter. If the shrieking at Wednesday’s screening is any indication, Never – and, in particular, those scenes where the singer wanders backstage shirtless – will be received by fans as an achievement in the league of sliced bread.
Not so Miley Cyrus, Bieber’s partner in an on-stage duet and an unwelcome distraction to those who have eyes only for him. “Put on some clothes!” came the cry.