Even if you're not a fan, you'll be impressed, if not overly entertained, by Bieber's showmanship and hard work. But none of these concert documentaries about young artists -- whether it's Bieber, One Direction, the Jonas Brother, or Katy Perry -- is going to compare to Martin Scorsese's epic chronicles of musical legends like Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, or George Harrison, and that's totally fine. At 19 years old, there isn't that much ground to cover, and the more fascinating bits -- how he's dealing with minor publicity debacles -- aren't mentioned with the exception of one run-in with a British paparazzo. What Chu does include this time around is a secondary set of interviews with tour choreographer Nick De Moura and his crew of talented back-up dancers as they audition and then perform alongside the Biebs.
Bieber is clearly on a mission to not be reduced to a fad with a great boot-strapping backstory. He wants to prove he's going to beat the odds ala Usher (one of the movie's producers and a personal friend of Bieber's) or the industry's other Justin (Timberlake). JB's career-long manager Scooter Braun talks at length about why Bieber is a true musician -- a songwriter, a vocalist, and a multi-instrumentalist -- who deserves to work with the best producers in the biz (we see at least four of them sing Bieber's praises). The film is at its best when it just shows Bieber's performances and doesn't try to give us the hard sell about his talents. A sequence about Bieber's relationship with a dying 6-year-old fan, Avalanna Routh, seems genuine enough to elicit tears from moviegoers, and in the end, if you're a fan (even a male or adult fan -- they exist!), you will feel vindicated in your admiration. But please, let's lay off on another concert documentary until he's at least 25.