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The critics agree: Justin Bieber rocks! (Relatively speaking)

February 11, 2011 | 12:23 pm

There’s no denying it’s easy to joke about Justin Bieber. But when it comes to his new movie, the 16-year-old singer/heartthrob is having the last laugh over the competition.

Four movies are opening in wide release this weekend, and “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never” is collecting the best reviews of any of them. Bieber’s 3-D concert-biography movie is particularly trouncing the Adam Sandler romantic comedy “Just Go With It,” which is receiving notices even worse than the usual Sandler slap-down, way down there with the critically drubbed "Bedtime Stories."

"Never Say Never" got the best average score of the four movies on two of three leading movie review aggregation sites, Rotten Tomatoes and Movie Review Intelligence. Rotten Tomatoes and Movie Review Intelligence gave the Paramount release a positive review average of 65% and 64.5%, respectively. Those marks topped the normalized marks for Disney's animated “Gnomeo and Juliet” (52% from Rotten Tomatoes, 54% from Movie Review Intelligence), Focus Features' Channing Tatum historical epic “The Eagle” (34% and 48%) and Sony's “Just Go With It” (22% and 39%).

The site Metacritic assigned a slightly better score to “The Eagle” (56) and “Gnomeo and Juliet” (53) than “Never Say Never” (50), but it was nonetheless hard on “Just Go With It” (33).

Entertainment Weekly
(B+) and US Weekly (3.5 stars) gave “Never Say Never” strongly positive reviews, yet there certainly were any number of detractors. Los Angeles Times reviewer Mark Olsen said of the Bieber movie, “Strictly as a piece of filmmaking, 'Never Say Never' is a bit of a mess.”

But apparently the other new movies are even bigger messes.

-- John Horn

Photo: Justin Bieber in "Never Say Never." Credit: Paramount Pictures