Thursday, December 18, 2014

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NY1 Movie Review: 'Jersey Boys'

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The hit musical "Jersey Boys" is a now a movie. It's the story of the pop group Frankie Valli and The Four Seasona and it's directed by Clint Eastwood. NY1's Neil Rosen filed the following review.

The Tony Award winning Broadway musical, "Jersey Boys," all about Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, gets the big screen treatment in a new film directed by Clint Eastwood.

Starting out in New Jersey in the 1950's, this is the tale of how this pop group was formed, their struggles to get to the top and what happens once they achieve fame and fortune.

Each member of the group chimes in throughout the film, talking directly to the camera, with their own recollections of how it all came to be.

We see the groups early ties to organized crime, with Christopher Walken playing a mob boss who takes a strong liking to Frankie and his unique voice.

The group doesn't really get anywhere until they meet the talented songwriter Bob Gaudio, played by Erich Bergen, who's flair with words and music eventually propels them to stardom.

Instead of casting big name movie stars to play the Four Seasons, Eastwood primarily fills the roles with members of past stage productions, like John Lloyd Young who originated the Frankie Valli role on Broadway and won the Tony.

Young, who was electrifying on stage, doesn't have a lot of presence on film, but when he starts singing, his voice does sounds great.

One actor who does have a lot of charisma on screen, is Boardwalk Empire's Vincent Piazza who plays tough guy Tommy, who gets the group into a whole bunch of financial debt.

The stage musical was a joyous experience with familiar Four Seasons tunes exploding on stage every few minutes.

Eastwood sort of sucks the fun out of the film version. He's more concerned with the story, which is sort of a garbled mess at times, with some major details left out and the music often times gets short shrift.

Except for a few numbers, most songs are rarely played in their entirety; instead, we're just given snippets.

"Jersey Boys," the movie does have some good moments, mainly in the first half. The production design nicely captures the era. Ultimately, though, it's too long and all over the map.

Neil Rosen's Big Apple Rating: 2.5 Apples ClientIP:,, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP