Review of: “Jersey Boys”
“Jersey Boys” is Clint Eastwood’s film adaption of the stage play about band, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. This is the story of how the band became a band and where the music came from. If you love the music, as I do, then you will enjoy this story of getting away from the neighborhood, but of not ever really leaving the neighborhood. In this case the neighborhood being just outside of Newark, New Jersey during the 1950s and 60s. In that neighborhood being involved with crime and the mob was just as common as not. And for the Four Seasons this was both a curse and a blessing. We see the bouts with the law, being in and out of jail, the hazards of owning money to the wrong people, and how four guys and come together to make magic and then eventually break apart. We also are surprised to see that the future actor Joe Pesci had a role in the development of the group. This film is classified as a musical; but as the story unfolded I really began to think of it more as a drama with music.
As the director, Clint Eastwood does a fine job. His ease as a director is evident and there are several scenes that display his talents. The tracking shot up the Brill Building, showing auditions on every floor was one that impressed me. He also used the same enjoyable device the stage play used of having the characters take turns narrating the story to the audience. Even though I have just praised Eastwood as a director; I was a little disappointed that a director of Eastwood’s caliber didn’t bring more to the project. But, honestly, maybe any director of an adaption really just needs to stay out of the way of the story. You decide for yourself.
In general the cast was very good. John Lloyd Young
reprises his award winning stage roll as Frankie Valli. And Mike Doyle as the Producer/Songwriter Bob Crewe was a delight to watch. But for me the standout of the cast was Erich Berger as Bob Gaudio. Erich plays the straight-arrow but talented song writing genius with a perfect blend of innocence, smarts and confidence.
I am very much looking forward to this actor’s future performances. And any time I get to see Christopher Walken (as the mob boss Gyp DeCarlo) I am happy to buy a ticket.
And of course the music is the music. I don’t see anyone going to this film who already doesn’t love the music. However, I thought that in some cases the performances came across a little weak or muted. This may have been an attempt toward realism in telling the story. But I also felt that as the movie progressed the performances became stronger. This was especially the case in the last 20 minutes of the film, culminating in a delightful musical dance number with the whole cast during the closing credits. Hey, we even get to see Christopher Walken dance, well… kind of.