Jersey Boys: Film Review

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I think a lot of people will be put off this because they will assume it is a musical but it’s not really – it’s more of a musical biopic. It isn’t the usual burst-into-song-randomly type movie, the music is used in legitimate settings and to move the story along. Plus, it’s directed by Clint Eastwood which gives it some kudos.

This tells the story of 1960s group Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. It follows their upbringing in New Jersey, their gangster connections, relationship troubles, rise to fame and subsequent split. I had no idea all this went on or had no clue that this group was behind such famous songs. I definitely want to see the stage musical now!

JERSEY BOYS

The movie has more of a gangster feel than a musical one but it is the numbers where this film really shines. They are the star of the show and I am amazed how much John Lloyd Young sounded like Valli – he really did sound like the real thing. It’s insane. He is the main guy but Tommy DeVitto has a big part as well. He was the leader of the group at the start and is still trying to cling onto some control. He is very dodgy. He talks like a gangster and does not do things in the group’s best interests. The other two, Bob and Nick, also get moments to shine, particularly when they get a turn to speak to the camera. That felt odd at first but you get used to it pretty quickly.

It is very enjoyable and not as cheesy and feel-good as you would expect. I didn’t like the pacing of it after the band splits. I know it is a depressing time for Valli but it just went way too slow. It jumps forward a lot at the end and the old age make-up is laughable. It really is bad. Also, in the beginning, I found it unbelievable that 38-year-old Young was playing Valli aged 16.

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Besides those little niggles, I really enjoyed it. It has heart, it is both funny and sad, has some great dialogue (not all the time) and a great soundtrack. Christopher Walken had a brilliant part that ejects some humour into proceedings and easily steals scenes.

To be honest, I had no idea what to expect with this because I hadn’t seen the musical and I didn’t know much about the group but I was pleasantly surprised at how meaty their story was. A lot of drama happened and it’s really interesting. The musical numbers just give career context to their story, so it’s not what you would think. Give this a chance – you will be pleasantly surprised.

Comments

  1. Good review. It wasn’t a very fun musical, nor was it very interesting either. It was just “meh”.

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