[Screen It]


(2013) (Documentary) (PG)

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Documentary: A look at the 19-year-old pop star's life, music and fans as he and his team work on his album and stage show tour.
The film takes a look at the 19-year-old's career, focusing on him working on his album release and 2012 stage show tour, with various interviews with him and others in his working circle, as well as a look at some of his fans.
OUR TAKE: 4 out of 10
Our reviewing policy for films that aren't shown in advance to critics (or are done so late the night before they open) is that we'll only provide a paragraph or two about the film's artistic merits or, more accurately, lack thereof. After all, life is too short to spend any more effort than that on a movie that even the releasing studio knows isn't any good (which is why they hid it from reviewers before its release).

Ah, the Biebs, a.k.a. Justin Bieber. You once had the world at your doorstep and firmly within your grasp. And then you were caught on video peeing in a bucket in a restaurant; you allegedly spit on some fans; you disgraced the Argentinean flag during a concert; you reportedly got caught doing some excessive speeding; and in your most brilliant ego-raged move, you wrote the following in the guest book at the Anne Frank museum in Amsterdam: "Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber." Yes, I'm sure had she not been killed by Nazis in 1945, she would have been a fan of yours at the age of 84.

Hearing that the Biebs was appearing in yet another documentary about his rise to stardom, I wondered if it would be a hard-hitting exposť on the 19-year-old's life and recent bizarre behavior. C'mon, who was I kidding? After all, the film was produced and financed by Bieber, his manager Scooter Braun and the film's director, Jon Chu (who also helmed the first Bieber documentary, 2011's "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never"). Let's just call it persuasive damage control. In fact, the only "hard hitting" moment is when Justin is asked how he's going to avoid heading down the same train wreck path blazed by Michael Jackson, Britney Spears and Lindsey Lohan. His response is that he has too good of a head on his shoulders to do that. Aside from the above-mentioned behavior, only time will tell about that.

Until then, this is just a softball look at the pop star and the putting together of his album and 2012 tour, mixed with some "old" archival footage of the Biebs at a young age and plenty of interviews with those with nothing but good things to say about the young man. I will admit I was a bit touched by his interaction with a young fan afflicted with some bad malady (who later died from that) as well as seeing the absolute delight and delirium of some of his young fans being surprised with free tickets to his show. If only the world could be powered by teenage girl shrieking, Bieber could save us all.

Since that's not the case, for the film to indirectly compare him to The Beatles (by intermixing clips of their and his fans) is just too much. Otherwise, it's pretty much harmless propaganda that will either be proof of the talent having turned the corner into respectability or a publicity diversion during the slow motion career train wreck. "Justin Bieber's Believe" rates as a 4 out of 10.

Reviewed December 25, 2013 / Posted December 25, 2013

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