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James Porter

Movie Review: Jersey Boys.

Directed By: Clint Eastwood.

Starring: John Lloyd Young, Vincent Piazza, Erich Bergen, Michael Lomenda and Christopher Walken.

The story of four young men from the wrong side of the tracks in New Jersey who came together to form the iconic 1960s rock group The Four Seasons.

Jersey Boys is the biopic of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons who were a very popular musical group in the 1960's, the film is directed by Clint Eastwood (Gran Torino) and features a cast populated with unknown performers. The film tells the story of their life, how they met, how they became so popular and even the lesser known events in their lives like their run ins with the mob etc.

I have never really sat down and listened to the Four Seasons but I was actually surprised at how many of the songs I recognized.

John Lloyd Young who was cast as Frankie Valli already played the role in the Broadway show that this movie is an adaptation of. He definitely has the voice of Frankie Valli and nails the iconic high notes so well. Clint Eastwood cast a lot of people from the Broadway show because he wanted actors who were used to doing those songs over and over and that certainly pays off in the musical sections in the film which are absolutely sensational. In fact the music orientated parts of the film where the best part.

As a full length feature film, this doesn't really work. I've heard the Broadway show is fantastic from a lot of people but it just didn't translate as well on screen.

One of the very best music biopic's I've ever seen is Ray starring Jamie Foxx, that film really focuses on Ray Charles as a person, it goes into immense detail on his life. I think Jersey Boys could have benefited from a bit more focus on Frankie Valli, he is the leader of the group but for a lot of this film it feels like he takes a supporting role to the rest of the group. The other three actors do an okay job and their surrounding by a fine supporting cast. Christopher Walken has a small role in the movie and it was nice to see a recognizable face in the midst of all these new ones.

I love Clint Eastwood, he's a great actor and director but I just think he was a bad fit for this movie. I keep forgetting that he actually directed this because it just doesn't feel like a Clint Eastwood directed film. He shoots the music scenes just perfectly but the rest of the film just didn't really work. The first half sort of seems like its trying to impersonate Martin Scorsese (Goodfellas), there are actually a few references to Joe Pesci (Goodfellas) who has worked with Scorsese. I just don't think Eastwood brought the energy that the actual movie needed, in different hands I think this could actually be a very good film because the script was actually pretty good.

The music scenes were good and lively but the rest of the film was lacking life. It felt very dull for a majority of its run time, it wasn't really funny and none of the characters were very likable.

Throughout the film, characters break the fourth wall and talk to the audience. They start off by just having one character talk to the audience, which I thought was great, we can see the story from that characters eyes. But then it starts letting all four main characters do it, which just felt odd because they'll sometimes do it in the same scene. If the movie split into four acts, where it focuses on how each member of the band tells the story, that would have been more interesting.

The four main characters all did a great job singing but none of them had that movie star flare that was needed for a movie like this. I'm not saying they needed to get all A list actors for these four roles but it would have been nice to see more experienced Hollywood actors in those roles.

There are a couple of really good scenes in the movie which really brought me back into the film when I was getting rather bored. These are the scenes where all four band members were discussing their work and so on, I found the dynamic between the four members quite entertaining but for the rest of the film I was getting a bit bored and that's partly because of its unnecessarily long run time. The movie is 134 Minutes long and it could have benefited a lot from 20 minutes being cut out. There are some subplots that feel rushed, especially the one with Frankie Valli's family problems, that should have just been left out.

I was looking forward to Jersey Boys and I am glad I saw it because it featured some great music that I really enjoyed! But for the rest of the film, its not as energetic as it should be and it comes off as quite dull. I'm going to give Jersey Boys a C.

What about you guys, did you like Jersey Boys? Comment below and share your opinions on the movie! As always guys, thanks for reading and make sure you check out my other reviews and news articles!


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