Blu-ray/DVD Combo and DVD available Friday May 13
Paramount Home Entertainment
When a copy of this documentary about pop singer Justin Bieber arrived in my home it sent off a tsunami of excitement among my teenage daughters, who told me “Mom, you really made it as a reviewer, Justin Beiber is HUGE!” So, as a film critic, my popularity is related to the fact that I can comment on a 16 year old whose pants don’t quite cover his buttocks. Ah,
The reaction of my daughters is typical of Bieber’s effect on young women according to this documentary which shows scene after scene of hysterical tweens proclaiming their undying love for the charismatic singer. Bieber, who went from a YouTube debut to selling out
at age 17, diffuses undeniable charm with his dimpled grin and downswept mop of hair. His instrumental gifts and resonant voice combined with boyish looks have made him a phenomenon akin to Elvis or the Beatles in terms of ticket sales. Bieber’s agent, Scooter Braun who discovered him, and fought the establishment to give him a chance, has earned his bragging rights. This film is his “I told you so” to those who unwisely downplayed Bieber’s talent and marketability. Madison Square Garden
The documentary traces the origins of Bieber’s meteoric rise to success by means of biographical interviews of those involved with his early life; his teachers, soccer coach, teammates, his young mother and doting grandparents. The father who abandoned Justin as a toddler has had a predictable change of heart and is back in his life, but was not interviewed on camera. Something about this outgoing, musically inclined kid, shown as a boy playing drums on chairs and anything available seemed to say, “someday this kid’s gonna be famous.”
Several scenes of Bieber being coached by Southern drawling voice teacher whose motherly approach seems to be the reason Bieber’s Christian faith is so far unmarred by superstardom like other child stars. We see fleeting shots of the Bieber team praying before concerts and he is never seen with a girlfriend or in a sexually suggestive situation. His songs are clean and upbeat, if a bit influenced by hip hop. He performs onstage with Will Smith’s son, Jaden, and with Usher, who was Bieber’s musical inspiration. There are the typical complaints about the discipline needed to rehearse and perform so many concerts, but his sensible voice coach reminds him this is what you bought in to when you became a singer. How refreshing to have a star with someone to keep his whining in check! Does this remarkable woman have time to mentor Lindsay Lohan?
Bieber fans will enjoy endearing home video clips, baby pictures, his backstage antics, and concert footage. My homegrown Bieber fans were watching this film beside me and emitting alternating squeals of enthusiasm while wiping tears of joy. Justin Bieber fans have made this early tribute of his short but remarkable career into the best-selling concert film of all time, and this crusty reviewer can find no reason to dampen their enthusiasm. He is a gifted young musician who doesn’t offend parents while entrancing his teenage audience with pop songs like “One Less Lonely Girl” He has even been quoted in the blogosphere recently as being pro-life, though this was not referred to in the film. What’s not to like?
Rated G. All audiences but recommended for Justin Beiber fans only.