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MOVIE REVIEW: FTN reviews Jersey Boys

June 20th, 2014 by Irwin Fletcher Comments

Jersey Boys (15)
Directed by: Clint Eastwood
Starring: John Lloyd Young, Erich Bergen, Michael Lomenda
Running time: 134 min

The story of four young men from the wrong side of the tracks in New Jersey who came together to form the iconic 1960s rock group The Four Seasons.

Frankie Valli and the Four Season, the four boys who took the music world of the 1950s and 1960s by storm, came from very humble beginnings. Lead singer Frankie, with boyhood friend Tommy DeVito, Bass Player Nick Massi and singer/songwriter Bob Guaido.

Like most groups, The Four Seasons started out small but with a unique lead voice and an exciting sound, it’s not long before the four Jersey Boys are hitting the big time. But fame always has a price and with one tour after another,not too mention the personal baggage several of the band members carry with them, will they be able to hold it all together whilst still at the top….

Jersey Boys is based on the hit Broadway Show and stars John Lloyd Young, Vincent Piazza, Michael Lomenda and Eric Bergen, all of who perform their own vocals in this film, all do a sterling job bringing these Jersey musical heroes to the silver screen.

The script, constantly laced with new Jersey profanities, has the right balance of humour and nostalgia so that audiences unfamiliar with many of the songs, will at least relate to their desire to hit the big time. Christopher Walken literally steals every scene he is in as the connected Mob Guy Gyp DeCarlo who helps the band out of one jam or the other.

The dialogue is peppered with the characters constantly crashing through the third wall to give direct commentary on the mood or actions of the group. This may be a throw-back to the Broadway Stage but, at times, it comes off a little more annoying, a simple voice-over would have been more effective than having members of the group break through the performing of a song.

The songs and hits come thick and fast and the vocal performances do indeed sound like the original group. All of the musical set pieces are perfection except for one key scene towards the end in which the musical arrangement is woeful. Indeed some of the audience members tried to cover their ears!

Whilst big girls don’t cry, there were indeed some heartfelt moments in this film, directed by Clint Eastwood, that certainly raised it above some other musical biopics. The costumes, set designs and period props all fitted perfectly into the musical mix, and whilst Clint himself has a very brief on-screen cameo of sorts which will bring a smile to his fans, sadly his use of back and forward projection for vehicle movements will have them trying to cover their eyes.

It’s an almost impossible task bringing a much loved musical theatrical stage show to the silver screen and cast and crew have done a pretty decent job. Safe to say it’s a little rough around the edges, but then again, like their characters, you could say it’s all part of the charm!

3 and a half out of 5 nerds

I'm an LA journalist who really lives for his profession. I have also published work as Jane Doe in various mags and newspapers across the globe. I normally write articles that can cause trouble but now I write for FTN because Nerds are never angry, so I feel safe.