Plot: Clint Eastwood’s big screen version of the Tony Award-winning musical tells the story of the four young men from the wrong side of the tracks in New Jersey who came together to form the iconic ’60s rock group The Four Seasons. Their trials and triumphs are accompanied by the hit songs that influenced a generation, and are now being embraced by a new generation of fans through the stage musical.
Review: I am not big on Broadway musicals. I don’t hate them by any means but musical numbers have never been my cup of tea. When the trailer released for Jersey Boys last month, it seemed promising and possibly enjoyable but it was unclear how much singing would be part of the experience. Well, I can honestly say I was hugely surprised by how enjoyable Jersey Boys is as a film. I was hooked form the moment it started.
The film takes place in the 1960s and follows the musical group the Four Seasons from low level nothings to raising stars and then the fall down. Right from the start, you can tell the film takes itself seriously and that is one of the strongest parts of the film. It was not light hearted and comedic but more akin to an old Scorsese film. Of course this is based on a true story so it makes it that much more impactful. Every actor was phenomenal and what was nice was that, save for a few cameos, most of the main actors were not huge stars which sells the story well.
The acting was top notch, with John Lloyd Young playing Frankie Valli, who like all Stereotypical Jersey Boys wants to get out of Jersey. Young was fantastic, as he should be seeing as he won a Tony for playing the same role on Broadway. A few of the actors have also been their perspective characters on the stage already. Vincent Piazza was a knock out, stealing the scenes every time. He was the loose cannon of the group, getting mixed up in drugs and alcohol but at the same time you could sympathize with him because he always tried to do Frankie right. Of course Christopher Walken, who plays real mob boss Gyp Decarlo also, did a great job, playing the usual bad ass mob boss who’s witty.
Clint Eastwood did a great job of being the 60’s era to life, even the old TVs looked static-y and true to the decade. The tone of the film was perfect, with the music used more as background music that got excitement when it was played. It is hard not to laugh when they come up with the idea for the song “Big girls don’t cry”. For a movie based on a musical, its musical performances were played down, save for the ending, which wraps it up nicely.
There’s nothing I can fault this movie for, it was exactly what I want from a movie based on that time period. It was gritty, real, funny, smart and thank god not cheesy at all. Sure I could pick it apart if I wanted to, the beginning was slow to start and a character’s death is really underplayed and perhaps should have been a bit more emotional but again I have to stretch really far to get criticism out. It’s a good film, don’t let the fact that it is based on a musical stop you from seeing it. Plus, it’s the perfect date movie because she will enjoy the music and think you’re cultured while you can enjoy the mob sense it has, win win. Give it a shot, you won’t be disappointed. 9/10.