Over the past year, Justin Bieber mania has gripped the country, resulting in an endless stream of useless articles about “The Beebs”, a steady succession of all-too-easy punchlines, and– once in awhile– a genuinely funny sketch featuring the pop star on Funny or Die or Saturday Night Live. We’ve maintained our disinterest in the Justin Bieber phenomenon throughout all this, but when Never Say Never hit theaters today, we knew we’d have to get involved. Read on for our non-review of Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never, my gentle Examiner readers…
Last summer, there came an afternoon where circumstances forced me out of my house for several hours (roommate was banging some floozy), and with nothing else to do, I decided to go see Jonah Hex. The film had been critically derided before it had even hit theaters, thanks in large part to an awful trailer and some terrible stories about the production of the film. Upon witnessing Jonah Hex for myself, I found all the rumors to be true: Jonah Hex was…well, I think I compared it to the “world’s longest colonoscopy”.
HERE is that review, in case you want to take a drive in the way-back machine. Seriously, you should read it: it’s one of the msot well-received reviews we’ve ever published here at Comedy Examiner HQ, and resulted in some of the funniest fan mail we’ve ever recieved. Good times, that Jonah Hex.
Anyway, the original plan was to do the same thing with Never Say Never, the just-released 3D “concertmentary” starring Justin Bieber. After all, wouldn’t it be funny to go pay money to see a Justin Bieber movie after spending months complaining about others buying into the Justin Bieber machine? Oh, just imagine the hilarity! In preparation for this endeavour, I read no other reviews of Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never, nor did I watch the trailer. I was all ready to go, looking forward to the screening I’d attend at the Alamo Drafthouse here in Austin, and then common sense kicked in: there was no way I was going to see Never Say Never.
Just not gonna happen.
But what about the Comedy Examiner readers who’ve emailed me, asking if I was going to be seeing the film? What about all those promises I’d handed out? Well, never let it be said that I’m the kinda cat that lets down my readers. We’re going to review Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never, but we’re going to co-opt another stunt we’ve pulled here at Comedy Examiner HQ in order to do it: we’re just going to review the trailer (our other idea– watching The Human Centipede and pretending to have mistaken it for Never Say Never— probably sounds better on paper than in practice). In case you’d like to see what this looks like in action before reading on, check out our “review” of Twilight: Eclipse right here.
OK, everyone understand? Carry on, then.
Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never is, perhaps, the worst 3D film of all time. Critics complained about the muddy visuals and lackluster three-dimensional effects in M. Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender, but that film looks like Avatar when stacked up against the “3D” to be found here. Upon starting the film (by pressing “Play” on the YouTube video labeled with the film’s official title, which is Never Say Never: Trailer 2 Official [HD]), I was convinced that the film was gearing up to a 3D reveal, much like Tron: Legacy did late last year: perhaps the early stuff is in 2D, and becomes 3D when Bieber starts singing? Maybe they’re trying to make it seem like Justin Bieber’s singing can actually transport you to a three-dimensional, candyland-esque world of pre-pubescent delights?
Turns out, it’s simply not in 3D, at least as not as far as I could tell. No matter how I twisted around my laptop’s screen, I simply could not discern any sort of “dimension” in the images that I was seeing. Between you and me, it almost looked like it was completely 2D. So, right off the bat, we’re handing out a strike against Never Say Never for its dishonest advertising. Oh, sure, it might look completely different in a “theater” with a “3D projection system” while wearing “3D glasses”, but who has time for all that? Besides, I’m a simple man, with simple tastes: I don’t need all this ricketa-racketa in my concertmentaries.
Which, by the way, is how Never Say Never is being marketed. Call me crazy, but the last time I checked, a real documentary has a narrative, a three-act structure, a point. Never Say Never— at just under two minutes– offers none of that. In fact, most of the film is made up of jarring title cards and the sort of editing that would give Michael Bay an epileptic fit.
The “film” begins with a series of quick-cut shots of Justin Bieber as a baby: playing the bongos, staring into a camera, being extremely baby-like. We then see Justin behind the stage, ready to greet a massive audience at Madison Square Garden (where the bulk of the film’s 1:52 running time takes place). We see him dancing with Usher, a laser, some fog, and lots of voices chanting Bieber’s name. Bieber appears in a solid white suit, and I think that the director of Never Say Never: Trailer 2 Official (HD) was trying to provide some subtext here: Bieber as pseudo-religious figure. It’s a startling idea, to say the least, but the sound of those chanting voices indicates that Bieberism may, in fact, already be a religion.
Following this, we’re told that Bieber could be “anything he wanted”, and we see him falling into an armchair while surrounded by his backstage posse. Clearly, the filmmaker is telling us that Bieber– who’s already been established as a pseudo-religious figure– doesn’t really want to be a pop star, nor does he want all the trappings (and they are trappings) that come with being a pop star: Justin Bieber wants to dive into living room furniture for a living, and all those chanting fans are standing in between him and this dream. Oh, so it’s a sad concertmentary, then. I admit that this was such a startling development, I nearly forgot that what I was watching was supposed to be in 3D.
We then see (at the :40 mark, for those playing along at home) Justin Bieber practicing another of his hobbies: hanging out with a dude in a public shower. Over the course of the past year or so, many have questioned young master Bieber’s sexuality. Some have even suggested that he might not be heterosexual at all. Clearly, Never Say Never: Trailer 2 Official (HD) is interested in showing us the truth: while he may engage in mid-shower singing with grown men, he does it clothed. There’s nothing sexual about it, much like Michael Jackson having “sleepovers” at Neverland Valley Ranch. Again, the film surprised me with its willingness to unveil the truth, fandom be damned.
From there, it’s a whirlwind: we see Bieber in a harness, monkeying around onstage. We see Bieber playing the drums. We see a contingent of his screaming fans, all of them desperate to lay eyes on their one, true God. This shot is followed, of course, by a shot of Bieber sans shirt (because, hey, even concertmentaries have to pander from time to time). It all happens in the blink of an eye, assuming that your blinks last approximately six seconds (we’re up to the :48 mark). At this point in the film, I was almost completely converted to the Justin Bieber School of Thought. I’d already started drawing up mental plans to wallpaper my room with Bieber posters, to buy his entire discography, to have his face tattooed on my face. And then things took a turn.
Around the :52 mark, it is revealed that Justin Bieber wears Velcro shoes.
Now, frequent Comedy Examiner readers already know this, but I will say it again, one more time and for posterity: the Comedy Examiner’s Office does not– and will never– support Velcro shoes. They are a threat against humanity, and anyone caught wearing Velcro shoes should be considered an enemy of not only “the State”, but also the world at large. Justin Bieber’s Velcro shoes, by the way, are purple, the color of royalty. Clearly, the director of Never Say Never: Trailer 2 Official (HD) wants us to associate Bieber– who we’ve already been pushed to associate with God– with royalty.
This, coupled with the hard anti-Velcro stance that Comedy Examiner HQ has taken in the past, colluded to instantly reverse all the plans we discussed in the paragraph-before-last: There would be no Justin Bieber posters. There would be no Justin Bieber discography in the Comedy Examiner-mobile. There would be no tattoo (unless, of course, we still got the tattoo and inserted a giant X over Bieber’s face). It was all too much, and that’s when the film lost me. Nevermind the shoddy 3D and the crappy pop songs: this is Velcro and royalty we’re talking about here, and that’s something we simply can’t abide.
The remaining minute of the film is spent showing off Bieber’s penchant for hoodies, his adoring fans, and a few trite sayings that Bieber is apparently now credited with, including– you guessed it– “Never Say Never”. Frankly, I couldn’t concentrate on any of it. After building my love for Bieber over the course of one very long minute, Never Say Never lost it completely somewhere around its 52nd second.
You can see it all for yourself in the video box over there on the left, but I warn you: you will not be the same afterwards, and your opinion of Justin Bieber may change completely after seeing this terrifying, thought-provoking, hilarious, dramatic, romantic, disturbing, erotic, awkward, depressing, enlightening, slapstick-y, low-carb film (that’s my attempt to get a pull-quote on the eventual DVD release; fingers crossed!).
My grade? A for the first minute, F+ for the second.
Want to see one of our other all-trailer movie reviews? See what we had to say about Twilight: Eclipse right here, folks!
Stay tuned for more funny videos, news, reviews, interviews, and more from Comedy Examiner HQ in the near future, folks. We’ve got all manner of nonsense to keep you informed and entertained during the week, so hit the ‘Subscribe’ button up top to get all future Comedy Examiner articles delivered straight to your inbox, free of charge, the moment they’re published…including any of our future Bieber-related updates.