Few artists have followed an easier path to stardom than Justin Bieber, who was snapped up by Usher and L.A. Reid based on a few YouTube performances. So it’s a bit rich that this glossy biographical and concert documentary positions him as a scrappy music biz underdog. We never find out who these people are who told Bieber “never,” but we do get a small, carefully stage-managed glimpse into his life and career. What we see is a 16-year-old star who, despite his preternatural confidence, seems young for his age. Beiber’s still essentially a blank canvas, his unformed personality not yet worth studying in any depth. If anything, Never Say Neve
r rings truer as yet another ode to the power of social media to shape culture.
- Matt Semansky