Director Clint Eastwood’s much anticipated “Jersey Boys” caught me much by surprise: it was neither a clone of the Broadway act, nor did it mimic the touring group. Rather, it was more a biopic of the rise to fame of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons ─ and the end result is fabulous.
The movie is a chronology of how four guys from Jersey broke from the hood in order to avoid prison or being “mobbed up,” and then rose to meteoric highs before crashing back down to earth. This is not a production where you are going to recognize big time Hollywood talent acting out the roles in order to fatten the box office returns; but that is not to say that big time talent does not abound. John Lloyd Young, who won a Tony for his Broadway role in Jersey Boys, but is playing in only his second feature film, does a knock up job as Frankie Valli; Michael Lomenda plays baritoned-voiced Nick Massi; Erich Bergen plays singer-song writer Bob Gaudio; and Tommy DeVito plays the flawed Vincent Piazza. The only recognizable big shot is Christopher Walken who plays the “mob guy.” (What else would he play?) Although these are not household names, the ensemble knocks it out of the park.
The movie has an interesting narrative where each major player takes turns facing the screen at different times in the story and explains the situation from their own perspective (a la “House of Cards”). The technique adds a unique dimension to the film and does not distract from the continuity of the story. There is also plenty of humor involved during the interaction of the group members. The only drawback that I could see was that I kept waiting for the music to come. Then again, as my wife always tells me: “Honey, relax ─ they have to set the story up first.” But when the music does come, get ready to enjoy. This is a timeless piece of American nostalgia. Enjoy.
My Rating 4 of 5 Seasons