REVIEW: ‘Jersey Boys’

Clint Eastwood
Vincent Piazza
John Lloyd Young
Christopher Walken
Erich Bergen
Rated: R

Clint Eastwood returns to the director’s chair for “Jersey Boys,” a film adaption of a stage play that follows the career of the band, the Four Seasons. The film explores the groups run ins with the law at earlier ages, how they got started, the drama that they went through and how they came up with their most famous hits.

Despite being a film about the whole band, though, the main focus is given to the lead vocalist, Frankie Valli, who was played by John Lloyd Young.

“Jersey Boy” may have worked as a stage play, but it doesn’t translate well to the big screen. The film plays out like a rather simple biopic, going through the motions of a musician/band rising up, having turmoil and eventually coming to a sort of fall off point.

In all fairness, the movie does try to do some things differently, for example, there are points where the characters break the fourth wall and narrate what’s going on to the audience. Those moments didn’t work well in my opinion, though, as they seemed to take me out of what was happening in the story, especially at the end.

The acting, at least, does raise this film to a respectable level. John Lloyd Young, who played Frankie Valli, was the best of the bunch, having done the character before in the original Broadway production. It was apparent that he was very comfortable in the role.

Vincent Piazza as Tommy was also a highlight, bringing a believable arrogance which the role needed for the type of character it was.

The tone and setting of the film was captured by the camera in a way that gave off a rather dreary feeling. This style has worked with Clint Eastwood in the past, but it doesn’t in “Jersey Boys.” As a film that’s all about music, this movie could have benefited from a more bright, colorful and vibrant look.

“Jersey Boys” can only be recommended to either Four Seasons fans or those interested in learning more about their music, otherwise, this is a pretty standard biopic. 2 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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