Jersey Boys

Since its premiere on Broadway back in 2005, Jersey Boys, has gone on to become one of the most successful musicals of the 2000s. This musical have received countless rave reviews, four Tony Awards, and has also taken its production to different cities around the world. So, it should come at no surprise that this very successful musical has had a film adaptation in the works since 2010. Although the early production hit some minor bumps in the road (there were even some rumors that Warner Bros. dropped the film plans), in 2013 Jersey Boys finally found its footing and was set to recreate the magic of the original production.

John Lloyd Young in Jersey Boys

John Lloyd Young in Jersey Boys

Jersey Boys follows the journey of four young men who were trapped by their surroundings. Growing up in New Jersey, Tommy DeVito (Vincent Piazza), Frankie Valli (John Lloyd Young), and Nick Massi (Michael Lomenda) expected their lives to go one or two ways. Men their age either ended up in the Army or ended up in the mafia, but either way most ended up dead. However, these men dreamed of something bigger. They dreamed of becoming famous and making hit songs. After meeting up with songwriter Bob Gaudio (Erich Bergen), the boys from Jersey were able to fulfill their dreams of becoming a musical act as big as Sinatra. Unfortunately, as soon as success comes there way so does more difficulties and problems. Their friendship and loyalty are tested as the four of them try to endure as a group that went on to become a musical act that defined a generation.

Jersey Boys is a well-executed musical biopic that is truly a interesting snapshot of popular culture and music in the 1960s. The aesthetics of the set pieces and production give the film an authentic and nostalgic feeling that is always lively. Director, Clint Eastwood, gracefully captures an entire era while also focusing in on an engaging Italian brotherhood theme. As much as it is about the Four Seasons, Jersey Boys is also about the neighborhood. This allows Eastwood to use intriguing character relationships and interactions to ground the film, and make it more like a searing drama rather than your over the top musical; however, at the same time Eastwood seems to overuse the neighborhood theme. Some of the scenes involving the neighborhood come off extremely cliche, and there is a stretch of the film where it loses its spunk. At its best, Jersey Boys is a fun, entertaining film that has inspiring musical numbers that showcases some of pop’s greatest hits. At its worst, Jersey Boys does not have enough energy or charm to fully move its audience. It lacks the genuine doo-wop spark, which sets the film up to be somewhat dull. Among Eastwood’s trademark realism, the film loses its steam because it heavily relies on the sometimes reductive story rather than letting the music speak for itself.

What really carries the film and helps the film get out of its mundane stage is the great performances. The whole cast does a terrific job at bringing to life the Four Seasons. The whole cast feels authentic and natural in their roles. Specifically, the standout of the film is Vincent Piazza as Tommy DeVito. Piazza is fabulous in this role and holds the entire picture together. He is charming, charismatic, and provides some of the best moments of the film. His breaking the fourth wall is always welcoming, and surprisingly he is also wickedly funny. Piazza comes into his own as DeVito and he will be the one you are talking about when you leave the theater. The rest of the Four Seasons (Young, Bergen, and Lomenda) all do terrific jobs and seem at home when they are performing the hit songs. Also the great Christopher Walken has several memorable moments of his own, which is a great sight to behold. Collectively, the cast is what makes Jersey Boys take off and become a fun entertaining film.

Clint Eastwood’s Jersey Boys is a solid music biopic that intimately shows the rise and fall of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons in a playful manner. It might miss a few beats along the way, but Jersey Boys still manages to be graceful and powerfully nostalgic.

The cast includes: Vincent Piazza (Boardwalk Empire), John Lloyd Young, Christopher Walken (Stand Up Guys), Erich Bergen (How Sweet It Is), Michael Lomenda, and Mike Doyle (The Green Lantern). It was written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice. It was directed by Clint Eastwood (J. Edgar).

2.5 out of 4 stars.

-By Louie Coruzzolo

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