Review: Jersey Boys

Jersey_Boys

Clint Eastwood and musicals don’t sit comfortably together in the minds of most people, but the veteran director has decided to add that particular notch to the hefty post that is his career with a big-screen adaptation of Jersey Boys, the musical based on Frankie Valli and his band, The Four Seasons.

Eastwood made the choice not to use big-name Hollywood actors for the band members, Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito & Nick Massi, opting instead to use stage actors John Lloyd Young, Erich Bergen, Vincent Piazza & Michael Lomenda respectively. John Lloyd Young played Frankie Valli in the Broadway production & won 6 awards for the role in 2006 and he does a great job on film too managing to nail Valli’s trademark falsetto every time. In fact, all the Four Seasons actors do a great job reproducing the vocal harmonies that made them  so unique.

The only really huge name in the cast is Christopher Walken who plays Gyp DeCarlo, a mafia boss and loan shark who the boys in the band look up to and have connections with. Walken, typically, brings a commanding performance with just the right balance of Fatherly wisdom and underlying menace without chewing the scenery. He does, however, steal the focus of every scene he is in which isn’t a bad thing but does, perhaps, show the difference between a seasoned screen actor and stage actors.

The plot of the film follows the young group as they struggle to be noticed, all the while doing small jobs for DeCarlo & serving jail sentences when they are caught. Until Joe Pesci (yes, him from Goodfellas and Home Alone) discovers the songwriting powerhouse of Bob Gaudio for them followed by their sudden rise to stardom & all the good & bad times that came along with it. Eventually the in-fighting ends with betrayal, the band split with DeVito & Massi returning to New Jersey while Valli and Gaudio went on to write huge hits while working constantly to pay off the bad debt that DeVito had built up with the Mafia over time.

This is not your typical Jukebox Musical that we’ve become accustomed to over the last few years with films like Mama Mia & Rock of Ages, it is a drama more in the vein of Walk the Line. Jersey Boys is as dramatic as it is engrossing, with just the right amount of comedy. Eastwood’s directing style is quite traditional, there are no showy camera tricks, flair or fuss, just simple, succinct storytelling.

Jersey Boys is a well acted, solidly directed film that tells a great story.  There does, however, seem to be something slightly lacking though it’s hard to say what. Definitely worth a watch, but it won’t change your life.

Advertisements

2 Responses to “Review: Jersey Boys”

  1. It’s not a very fun musical, nor is it all that interesting of a drama. It’s just mediocre, to say the least. Good review.

    • Yeah, the further away I get from seeing this movie, the less I remember about it. Plus, the music is great, but in this film doesn’t really showcase it in a way that would imprint them on your mind. Cheers!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: