‘Justin Bieber: Never Say Never’ Review

Published 4 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 4:30 pm,

Justin Bieber Never Say Never 3D Movie Justin Bieber: Never Say Never Review

Screen Rant’s Mike Eisenberg reviews Justin Bieber: Never Say Never

Pop sensation Justin Bieber’s first single hit the radio waves on May 18th, 2009. 20 months later, a documentary of his 16-year-old life hit theaters in 3D under the title Justin Bieber: Never Say Never. While it succeeds as a concert film, it struggles to be the uplifting documentary that was promised.

A documentary is only as entertaining as its main subject – luckily for Never Say Never, the young performer has every bit of charisma and style a boy his age can possess. For this reason, Never Say Never is watchable, but still lacks any real value as a film other than a money-making machine for Paramount Pictures. This is simply Hollywood implementing every strategy in the books to make big bucks on a low cost product.

Justin Bieber’s story is inspiring enough in an age where anyone can become a star thanks to the power of the Internet. Unfortunately, it is only as interesting as a typical 60-minute VH1 Behind The Music episode. Justin Bieber is not a misunderstood superstar. He has avoided controversy and maintained a very positive public image. The film presents this and repeatedly shouts, “Pay attention to this kid!” There is not a single negative connotation with the name Justin Bieber. So far Bieber has managed to stay out of the negative limelight, and hopefully he doesn’t end up going down the same road as Lindsey Lohan, Britney Spears and other young music superstars.

However that is also where Never Say Never falls apart: It is perfectly acceptable as an early recap of Bieber’s rise to stardom, but his life story has nothing to offer dramatically to sustain a 105-minute documentary beyond his meteoric rise in popularity. Whenever he is on camera, young girls in the theater swoon and react, but eventually those reactions tapered off. By the halfway mark of the film, those same girls were only reacting to the concert footage – singing along to his catchy tunes and even dancing in the aisles. The actual documentation of Bieber’s life is plentiful – he’s been on camera since the moment he touched a drum set, but the documentary offered little to no drama via way of any conflict – and this is why there’s really not much point to this film at all.

Justin Bieber Jaden Smith Never Say Never 3D Justin Bieber: Never Say Never Review

The trailers promote a movie that will inspire others to go out and pursue their destiny, but the actual movie is a 3D love letter to fans of Justin Bieber. Never Say Never doesn’t try hard enough to send a positive message to the youth watching the movie. While at times it shows off a child who developed his own talents and inspired everyone around him to join him on the unlikely journey to fame, and it shows that positive influences and faith can drive anybody to success – at every opportunity it has to convince us he is more than what he seems, it cuts to a concert performance and the fans just start singing along again.

Over half of the movie is spent watching fans cry and overreact to Bieber. We get it – young girls love him. Why does the documentary care so much about showing the fans instead of actually telling us a story we don’t know? The film misses out on the true power of documentary storytelling. In fact, one could argue the movie made a joke out of Bieber’s fans by showing them as rabid sheep to their Little Bo Peep. Documentaries can be powerful, sending us to places we could never go on our own. While Never Say Never shows us a small part of the behind-the-scenes life of this superstar, it does not go any further than a short segment on VH1 or MTV could do in a quarter of the time.

Many have praised the cinematography of Never Say Never. While the images are slick and the shallow depth of field makes for nice imagery, the cinematography is another one of the film’s many hindrances. It makes no sense to call the imagery great when much of it includes either roving crowd cameras showing girls dancing and crying or standard definition home video footage. The only real utilization of 3D in the documentary was the concert footage, and that was arguably the best cinematography of the entire film.

Bieber had a blast playing with the 3D component, tossing his hat at the camera and reaching out to the audience and camera in the classic pop star dance move we’ve seen for decades. It’s hard to look back on the film and understand why it cost more than a regular ticket – roughly 25% of Never Say Never was actually in 3D. The most memorable moment of the entire film (which was shot in 3D) involves Bieber and friends pulling off Jackass-style stunts during a test session that probably was never even meant to be in the film in the first place.

With all its flaws, Never Say Never is not without entertainment value. As a concert movie, it is a rousing success. The coverage of his extensive tour leading up to the Madison Square Garden performance is worth watching, but it offers nothing as a narrative production. It has little value other than to show Bieber’s charisma and likability – and this is not enough to carry a theatrical documentary. This is why it’s important to let a star form in his or her entirety before reflecting on their existence – a la Michael Jackson’s This Is It.

If you enjoy Bieber’s music, or simply want to watch something light-hearted and fun, Never Say Never is probably worth your money. But if you want something that moves you or tells you a story truly worth telling, you won’t find it here. It is rare that a movie presents such an entertaining lead character and offers so little to the audience.

Sometimes we just have to accept a movie for what it is – an easy buck for the studio.

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Our Rating:

2 out of 5

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  1. Thank God. Someone came to their senses.

  2. I can only take on 28 Biebers with one arm behind my back.

  3. Ok Listen ! the Justin Bieber Movie was amazinqq ! He made me Laff Cry Andd is And always will be an Amazinqq singer. Hes Not Gay! Only because he makes amazinqq qreat cutee Sensative songs ? People Like Or Love Chris Brown. But when it comes to a young kid who is (white) no offense. And a Maturee guy qho is (black) and tatts. Its Different? absolutely not ! i love chris brown dont get me wrong. but the next time u judge make sure its for the right reason. its not Justins fault hes a skinny cute gorgeous white boy that can sing O.dhee . Dont Hatee Becausee he got Moree Girls on his Jock Then Any rapper Singer Or any boy period Alive (;

    • As your statement to the girls he has on his “Jock” are mostly 14 year olds who are just starting to feel that tingle. So unless I was a pedophile, I really could care less about how much play Bieber gets.

      Kids talented, wish he didnt lip sync so often, but he’s starting to go too main stream and thats where the money is. I dont like his music, its horrible, some of the worst lyrics I have “EVER” heard but thats my opinion. I wont be seeing the movie, just b/c I cant justify giving money to see a movie about him.

      Interesting review tho Mike.

      • You could actually understand that post, Syrus? You should work for the UN. :-)

    • All of the spelling mistakes are frying my brain.

  4. Hey Justin beiber this is tommi I love you. I though the movie was awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • This is sarcasm, right?

  5. Congratulations guys, you made this the 2nd most popular article in Screenrant.

    Soon this will replace the Inception Ending Explained article that’s been there since July.

  6. Say what you will about this young man but he has a very inspirational story. Look how far he’s gone. I wish him the best at the grammy’s. Winning one will help him make the transition to a wider fanbase. Good for him. Keep living your dream and inspre us, the youth to dream big and never give up. Especially those of us living in Africa where dreams are often squashed by lack of initiative and resources. But i have decided, I am 18, I worked hard just like you through high school in Africa, got a scholarsjip and was accepted to Yale and hardvard. Next stop, the world.. I’ll meet you up there little buddy. Ignore the haters, they only make you stronger. Even Jesus had haters….Judas anyone? You go boy! West Africa supports talent and inspiration. make sure to stay humble and pray! You are God’s gift to teh youth right now, but soon you will be God’s gift to the world….Never stop believing. And God bless your mother who is looking after you. No drugs, weed, sex. Focus and you will make it.
    Also with regards to the comments about him fading away like the Jonas brothers. I don’t think that has to be the issue because the jonas brothers confined themselves to the soft-rock genre which (in my opinion) starts to sound monotonous with each new song. But R&B hip-hop sound is easier to eveolve, in my opinon again. You may not agree. Anyway, i guess only time will tell. Best wishes to you Bieber.

  7. I can’t be the only one wondering what in the HECK are we reviewing this movie on Screenrant for?!

    (Just ranting out loud)

    • That is a very good question.

    • You weren’t the only one, from Vic and Mike responded earlier that they did it since it seemed like this would be the popular film of the week or something.

    • Why are we reviewing this movie on Screen Rant?

      Because guess what? It’s a MOVIE. Guess what else? It’s a POPULAR movie. And you know what allows us to bring you folks movie news day after day? Editors and writers. You know how I pay those good folks? Advertising. And you know what we need in order to make enough money to pay everyone around here? Lots and lots of visitors.

      So you know – I had NO intention of reviewing this – but Mike offered, so why should I tell him no if he offered? I’ve already explained we haven’t given hardly any coverage to this film at all. We could have brought a LOT more visitors to Screen Rant over the last few weeks by covering the hell out of this movie – but we didn’t.

      So – we decided to review it… so far this review has been read 5,000 times.

      That is why we reviewed this movie.


      • I understand why some people think this isn’t Screen Rant’s style? But it couldn’t be more SR’s style. This site reviews and covers as many, if not every, major theatrical release. Justin Bieber: Never Say Never is a major theatrical release. End of story. Respect it as a film please. People put a lot of hard work into getting this product to theaters in only half a year and on a small budget. Respect the effort to create content for all demographics and audiences. And on top of that, respect us for trying to cover all the bases of entertainment. We do it for you. If you want a site that only writes a couple articles a day and covers only what you want, the world is full of available URLs and it doesn’t cost much to start a blog. Go for it.

      • I stand corrected.

        (..and thank you for NOT saying it was my own damn fault for clicking on the article heading.)

        • And Jess,

          That was not only directed at you – it’s for everyone who’s been giving us grief about it. :)


          • Vic I call BS

            We all know your being paid to give this movie a bad review the cats out of the bag. Bieber paid you guys to trash his film I know it. You sell outs lol Jk

            • Reverse psychology movie reviews… hmmm…


              • Bieber is my son.

                • You mean he´s your daughter… :D

                  • I always sort of put him/her in the category of a Transporter malfunction..

  8. @hmmm, I don’t know how much music you were exposed to down in Africa. Sadly it seems you only follow Grammy winners and whatever your catching on tv.
    By the time I was 18 I was into a full spectrum of music. None of it revolved around a 15 year old kid…

    Unfortunitly if your not exposed to a wide variety of music from an early age your going to have a limited perspective. Hopfully when you get to the states you get a chance to hear some real music…

    • 790, actually africa has some really neat music coming out of there. Maybe not mainstream but I’ve been exposed of lately to a lot of cool african musicians.

    • 790, so you´re saying that any person who doesn´t live in the USA has a limited perspective on music?!

  9. I do hope this beats Adam Sandlers “movie”.

    How funny would that be. :)

  10. I loved it

  11. I don’t understand why people are giving Mike and Vic grief about rating this film. Now rating The Eagle…. :-)

  12. Scapegoat, what I meant was that if your 18years old, and think Bieber is the best, maybe your missing out on some stuff.

  13. itss funny how people care more about my writinq then my actual sayinqs. the only reason u quys dont like him is cause ur old and have different (obviously) artist,im 17 i Love justin bieber i know alot of people that do and if u dont like justin bieber im wonderinq why ur on this website because if hes so ‘horrible’ why do u even care ? just go on with ur lives and stop waisting it on a 16 year old successful singer. THANK YOU!

    • He’s not an artist. He’s a product and so is his music. Calling him an artist is an insult to anyone who puts even a pinch of creativity on developing music, specially if they’ll remain unknown probably for decades.

    • Why do you type like this with your ‘q’s as ‘g’s? :laughs:

    • I just love the shallow and transparent arguments you make. Hey, I’m fifteen and I don’t like him. You don’t seem to realize that each and everyone of us has a right to an opinion. Therefore, if you cannot handle it, then you shouldn’t be on the internet: PERIOD.

      I wonder if you’re contradicting your statement now when Esperanza Spalding won the Grammys.

  14. I wish a young man like J B would use his ” talent ” to sing a positive message to the youth. I haven’t done very much research into his music, but so far all I’ve heard repeatedly is love songs targeted at young girls coming from this child who has much to learn about the world aside from boyfriend/ girlfriend relationships. I wish to see more personal growth and self confidence instilled in our societys young minds no matter how we look on the outside.

    • Recently, he has produced the song pray that was for charity and stayed away from the love/relationship side of his somas although down to earth was about his parents. Also, he has created a new song called born to be somebody in which the message is you can be who you want to be so follow that dream. If anything, he’s done more then some of the artists out there now and he’s younger, not been in the business along and doesn’t have as much experience. I think he’s doing amazing!

    • Hear his song: PRAY

  15. Wasn’t this Bieber film in 3D?, yep it totally was! Here’s a perfect example of subliminal 3D programming.
    Here’s @Steph’s comment,,,
    “I mean I had bieber fever right after I watched it, even though I didn’t like him before the movie. Maybe you’ll like never say never! Don’t let reviews make up your opinion:) I’m eighteen and It appealed to me just as much as it did my forty eight year old mom:) so here’s to inspiration!”
    Inspiration, my data port!!!

  16. hiya! i love justin bibear. from shaymah
    justin= shayma
    taiyyibah=zayn malik
    zayn malik= ruksar
    nargas= harry
    romessa= ?

    • Your post = BS… :D

  17. biry birdy in the sky left a poopie in my eye me dont care me dont cry me just happy that cows cant fly

  18. Its a really good moviee!!!!!(: even if i wouldnt like him i would think it would be a good movie(: plus why is everyone hating on him cause hes a good singer!

    • How is he a good singer when almost all he does is auto tune his voice to be higher and most of the songs are copied from other previous songs

  19. key i love the pic of u up there with ur bike u r hotttttt! i love that movie sooooo much u should make other one.

    • i would love to go to a concert of yours well i am sending u mail justin. watch out.

  20. i loved it almost made me cry it made my friends cry that was funny and right in the middle my older cousin said she was gonna do the same thing with her son!! thas inspiration when you didnt even finish the movie and your already thinking of stuff and now im more confident in my dreams also this is by far the best movie

    • I’m sorry but I don’t think his story is inspiring at all. Not just any kid should be this kind of superstar, in fact, especially the geniuses were destroyed by fame (i.e. John Lennon, Michael Jackson, Kurt Cobain etc.). So think of it this way, if Justin Bieber’s really that talented, he’s screwed. If not, he’s just going to fade away. I’m sorry to be so negative, but hey, I’m just being realistic. I’m sure you’re talented and all, but I wouldn’t seek fame. If you really love music, then it is a great hobby!

  21. never say never was the best movie ever i love justin bieber

  22. All who find Justin Bieber as craptastic will LOOOOVE the current issue of MAD Magazine; best parts are the cover and the last page before the inside back cover, as they show Bieber no mercy.

  23. Is there a 0 star option, or maybe even a negative numeber one!

    • you can’t even spell “NUMBER” correctly and there you go criticizing a movie that i bet you didnt even watch. and hey if you cant see a 0 star option then obviously there is none! dont worry you’re not blind YET.

  24. never watch never say never….never ever


  26. I love Justin Bieber soooooooo much – this was the best film I have ever seen. Everyone in the cinema stood up and was screaming and singing and dancing :) Such a good atmosphere. xxxxxx

  27. I love justin bieber so much!!!!!!!!!! He’s zoo awesome!!!!!! Haters are just jealous!!!!!! Im a believer;)

    • No, you’re just jealous that i have a life and you don’t because you’re just a butthurt cry baby who fantasize all day on a person who we will never met in millions of years and ALSO haven’t done anything productive. Btw, something tells me that you can’t handle the truth . . . about why jb is talentless in every way. Plus, the movie wasn’t that great or inspirational because the message of the movie doesn’t have ANYTHING to do with reality (If you research about issues in any country, i mean).

  28. I am a huge bieber fan, I enjoy his music, and his concert I went to was truly amazing. But the huge build up to never say never on twitter, was, well a bit of an over reaction. When I saw the movie, I am dissapionted that, it was mainly his fans. And although while I respect he has a hectic schedule, I don’t think there is enough of HIM in it. It’s like he hasn’t done anything special JUST FOR the movie, do you get me. Luv u tho biebs

  29. It’s so good or Justin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)