It’s hard to take this week’s announcement, conveniently timed to coincide with the release of his new movie, that Justin Bieber is retiring all that seriously. But if the pop star really is calling it quits, it’s in keeping with the spirit (if not the content) of “Justin Bieber’s Believe.” Where Bieber’s first concert documentary, 2011’s “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never,” chronicled his rise to fame, his new one is damage control.
Bieber has had a year of terrible publicity, from simple tone-deaf narcissism at the Anne Frank House to alleged trysts with Latin American prostitutes. But except for a clip of Zach Galifianakis berating the singer about infamously peeing in a restaurant’s mop bucket, “Believe” doesn’t confront controversy but talks around it. Love and heartbreak are discussed exclusively in abstract terms, and friend Ryan Good and his mother both talk as though his biggest scandal is his baggy pants.