Tuesday, June 24, 2014

mini review - Jersey Boys

Directed by Clint Eastwood and starring John Lloyd Young, Erich Bergen, Vincent Piazza and Michael Lomenda, the film Jersey Boys follows the stage show quite closely, and for that, we can be grateful. Eastwood has kept all of the theatricality in tact, but I was somewhat let down dramatically by John Lloyd Young's performance. He carried off Frankie Valli's personality and singing beautifully, but in scenes following the death of his daughter - which devastated Valli - he, in my book, used way too much restraint. I wanted more emotion. After all, if he was on the verge of a breakdown, then the audience needs to see that. Maybe it was the directors's choice, but the control didn't work for me. Erich Bergen is charming and funny as Bob Gaudio; the camera adores him. Vincent Piazza as pain.in.the.ass Tommy DeVito is a real winner as is Michael Lomenda essaying intense honesty in his portrayal of Nick Massi. Chris Walken in his portrayal of Valli's mafioso friend is very funny, among the best of his recent performances. Cinematography by Tom Stern replicating the 50s/60s look works nicely but maybe technicolor could have accompanied the final scenes representing the Hall of Fame in 1990.

Musically, it's all great. Rolling credits indicate that Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons participated in/recorded some of the songs. Did they sing along on the tracks with the four actors playing them or were we listening to them alone - the original tracks of those songs? This point is not clear in any of the press releases. Valli and Gaudio served well as executive producers, and Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice did a more than adequate job transferring the docudrama to the screen.

Overall, very enjoyable summer entertainment that should sell tickets! Nowhere near as bad as major reviewers are making it out to be!

4/5 stars