Film Review – Jersey Boys (2014)

Jersey Boys - post

Title – Jersey Boys (2014)

Director – Clint Eastwood (Mystic River)

Cast – John Lloyd Young, Vincent Piazza, Johnny Cannizzaro, Michael Lomenda, Christopher Walken

Plot – The story of Frankie Valli (Young) and The Four Seasons as they rise from the neighbourhood of New Jersey to the top of the charts. But fame as always, comes at a cost.

 “I heard ’em all but I had never heard a voice like Frankie Valli’s”

Review by Eddie on 28/11/2014

Much like his most recent and most forgettable films J. Edgar and Hereafter, Clint Eastwood’s big screen version of the Broadway smash hit musical Jersey Boys is a frustratingly hollow big screen event that squanders a ripe storyline to become a meandering movie devoid of any real pulse, purpose or cinematic flair.

The story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons is clearly interesting enough to set Broadway alight and there are enough elements in the story of these entertainers to fill countless movie tales yet Eastwood’s plodding direction seems to reign in all possible emotional arcs present. Joyous occasions feel like non-events, tragedy’s appear as by-lines and even the songs of the group don’t seem overwhelming eventual despite their obvious pop driven power. Eastwood has shown over recent decades a finely tuned directional mind, from the plains of the west in Unforgiven, the suburban streets of old school America in The Changeling or the battlefields of Japan in Flags of Our Fathers, his films have come to life but he can’t breathe life into this rise and fall tale especially with his largely unexperienced cast delivering charisma free turns.

Without pretending to be a knowledgeable source on anything Frank Valli or the Four Seasons I would assume that the group possessed as healthy dose of charisma that for the most part in Eastwood’s tale appears totally non-existent. Other than Boardwalk Empire’s Vincent Piazza as the bands troubled leader Tommy DeVito all other acting members fail to make an impact, which more than likely stems from there history of stage performers not movie actors. John Lloyd Young as Frank Valli in particular can grate and despite his good singing work doesn’t do much else to make us like him. When the best member of the cast is a dancing Christopher Walken in the closing credits you know you’re in trouble but blame must largely fall to Eastwood for his direction of his actors and miss-telling of much of this story.

After Jersey Boys concluded I felt that I knew the group no better than when I started out, where successful musical tales like Walk the Line and Ray succeeded at shining a light on the genius and the drive these performers had and did so by bringing them totally to life, Jersey Boys feels like a mere splattering of events that never fully develop into anything more than mild curiosity for the audience.

2 oversized safe’s out of 5

7 responses to “Film Review – Jersey Boys (2014)

  1. I saw the touring company of the play and it was fantastic. This movie just didn’t live up to the show, save for the songs. John Lloyd Young was in the original Broadway show and I thought he was very good doing the songs in the movie. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Eastwood and I think the movie would have benefited greatly with a different director. If the play ever comes your way it is really worth seeing.

    • Hi Joan, those in my family that have seen the stage play absolutely loved it and I am pretty shattered I missed out on it’s original run. It seems Eastwood didn’t really know how to tackle this material and it seemed to be met with a lull the world over.

  2. Funny, I thought it was pretty good, if a little slow. I figured Eastwood was embracing that expository documentary style in line with the material, but I also haven’t seen the stage show. I think he’s in old man cinema mode lately, which doesn’t really bother me.
    Was just about to post something on Jersey Boys too, what are the odds?!

  3. Nothing about the concept of this film made me want to watch it and your review confirms that I was on the right track!

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