By Jeff Labrecque
Updated March 31, 2011 at 04:55 PM EDT
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Credit: Landmark/PR Photos; Kristy Sparow/WireImage.com

Hope and Crosby. Martin and Lewis. Bieber and Kutcher? According to the Los Angeles Times, teenage singing sensation Justin Bieber is in talks to star opposite Punk’d host Ashton Kutcher in What Would Kenny Do?, a Sony project about a struggling high school kid who gets some guidance from a grown-up version of himself. (For the record, Kutcher would play the grown-up version.) At least this isn’t another body-switching comedy, in the spirit of 17 Again or Like Father, Like Son (though it does echo the plot of Bruce Willis’ The Kid.)

This is certainly the next step for Bieber, whose documentary Never Say Never has cleared more than $72 million. Bieber proved he can play tough on CSI, where his bad-boy was gunned down by police. But can he be funny? And I don’t mean joshing-with-Jimmy-Kimmel funny. Comedy is hard — you either are or you aren’t. Justin Timberlake had the goods. So did Will Smith, whose Overbrook Entertainment is producing the Bieber-Kutcher project. (Lance Bass in On the Line… not so much.) So maybe Bieber will make the leap, too. And Kutcher could be perfect as the older, wiser Bieber. What teen wouldn’t want a sagacious Ashton Kutcher as his own personal social consiglieri?

Are you eager to see Justin Bieber as someone other than Justin Bieber? And would you like this movie concept better or worse if you knew the last act included a high school Battle of the Bands contest?

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