Director: Clint Eastwood
Starring: John Lloyd Young, Christopher Walken, Vincent Piazza
Release Date: June 20, 2014
Although Jersey Boys is a hit musical on Broadway, you don't need to see the musical to know that it is very successful. One of the reasons is that it is referenced in films. I mean, if Allen Gamble and Terry Hoitz can be bribed and distracted from their police work with some Jersey Boys' tickets then the musical has to be amazing, right? That was a reference from the 2010 film The Other Guys, if you don't recall who Allen Gamble and Terry Hoitz are. It is only right to take such a successful musical that went on to win four Tony Awards including 'Best Musical' and put it on the big screen. And who gets the privilege of directing it? Nobody else but the man himself, Clint Eastwood. Eastwood has taken a step back from directing since his 2011 film J. Edgar which received its fair share of negative reviews despite Leonardo DiCaprio playing the lead. Unfortunately, Jersey Boys will not avoid the negative reviews as the film falls flat when music isn't involved.
Jersey Boys didn't always go by that name, they were once "The Variety Trio" and Frankie Valli (John Lloyd Young) was Frankie Castelluccio before he entered the band. The group consisted of Tommy Devito (Vincent Piazza), Nick Devito (Johnny Cannizzaro) and Nick Passi (Michael Lomenda) but once Tommy heard Frankie's voice, he took him under his wing and taught him everything he knew. But not everything went well for the group, they just couldn't find that distinct sound. That was until they were introduced to songwriter Bob Gaudio (Erich Bergen). The group went on to rename themselves The Four Seasons and success followed soon after. But like the lyric from their hit 'Can't Take My Eyes Off You', things were too good to be true as the group slowly fell apart.
Clint Eastwood has a resume that leads you to believe that Jersey Boys would be a hit. He was the composer for seven of his films, was on plenty of soundtracks, and has directed a biopic called Bird. So how is it possible that Jersey Boys was not as good as the Broadway musical? Simple, the music Eastwood has produced, composed, and written all have a different sound than of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. See, Eastwood is jazz and the Four Seasons are more pop-ish and the result is Eastwood not having emotional attachment to the music and focusing more on the backstage struggles.
Besides Eastwood failing to focus on the music as much as the musical does, Eastwood also didn't know what kind of film he wanted to make. He gets caught in between the musical it should be and the Goodfellas
vibe that it shouldn't be. Eastwood spends more time going into the history of Tommy DeVito and his criminal past than any other character. To add to the criminal aspect, the band grows a relationship with mobster Gyp DeCarlo (Christopher Walken
), and the only positive part of that is that Walken is amazing for the role and gives life to the film whenever he is on screen. But even with that, it's still not a good enough excuse to spend so much time on the mafia aspect when that means the music gets the back burner.
There is no doubt that the music Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons wrote and performed are fun and catchy despite it being a tad bit out-dated, but it should ultimately be the highlight of the film. But the majority of the musical numbers were performed so stiffly that if you are a fan of the musical you would be highly disappointed with the film. With the musical being approximately 15 minutes longer than the film, you're better off seeing the musical. There most likely won't be any awards handed out to this film unlike the musical. Wait until Jersey Boys
is on Netflix for you to see it.
Labels: 2014, Christopher Walken, Clint Eastwood, Jersey Boys, John Lloyd Young, Movie Review, On Demand, Vincent Piazza