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 Never
rings truer as yet another ode to the power of social media to shape culture.