Paramount is currently deciding whether to release a director’s cut of Justin Bieber: Never Say Never in theaters or save it for the DVD. Regardless of when fans get additional scenes chosen by helmer Jon M. Chu, here are suggestions for moments we’d genuinely love to see:
• Bieber being chased by fans, how he escapes them, and him talking about how that mob mentality makes him feel. The film does already include what I assume is a fan shot video of him being swallowed up by a crowd, but you never get the sense of how that affects him. Perhaps his team doesn’t want fans to think that kind of extreme expression of love is a downside to his success, but we all know it is. The film does a great job of showing that Bieber is a genuine talent — the video of him playing the drums when he was very young made me sit up in my seat — and of making you see how much this fearless 16-year-old actually worked for his success. (One of my favorite scenes is of him walking up to a young female violinist playing the same spot outside a theatre where he used to sing with his guitar.) But in general, I’d have liked to have seen a bit more of the stress of being Bieber. Days before his sold-out show at Madison Square Garden, which is what the film revolves around, he had to cancel a concert to give his inflamed, infected throat and vocal cords a chance to heal. He got some tough love from his ball-busting vocal coach, who told him he has to be a professional and take care of his voice on days off — cut to a montage of him shouting while hanging out with friends — and no, he can’t eat Chicken McNuggets because the doctor said fried foods are bad for his throat. Yes, he’s 16, and those are sacrifices, but when compared to all he gets in return, not huge ones. There’s got to be more drama than that. Maybe his team, which really does appear to be a family, shields him from everything. But then I want to see more of what they go through.
• What Bieber and his father said to one another after his dad saw him in concert for the first time — in a sold-out arena — and cried. We learn all about the bond between Bieber and his mother (pictured), who raised him alone, but I was left wanting to know more about his relationship with his dad, which was the least developed in the film. Maybe that’s how it is in real life now — they’re close, but Justin’s closer to his road family by default.
• How Bieber feels about sitting in a giant heart and being dangled out over the crowd to sing “Never Let You Go.” We got to see that he is, in fact, aware of the occasional ridiculousness one encounters when catering to a young female fanbase with that genius slo-mo “At Last” photo shoot montage. (He played up the power of his idol hair and face for the camera before horsing around like a normal guy.) But I could go for more.
• More shots of the parents at his concerts: Do they end up standing and dancing, or do they just sit and wait for it to be over? Post-concert interviews with some would have been interesting.
• Any additional shirtless moments. This isn’t for us. It’s for the young ladies who don’t realize how fortunate they are to get all the existing shots of him changing backstage and running around with a water bazooka. I don’t recall seeing this much skin in the New Kids on the Block concert VHS I got for Christmas when I was their age.
More on Justin Bieber: Never Say Never:
Owen Gleiberman reviews ‘Justin Bieber: Never Say Never’
Justin Bieber: Why adults are scared of him. And why they should go see his movie.
Will Paramount’s Christian outreach program get young men to see ‘Justin Bieber: Never Say Never’?