hmv.com reviews... Jersey Boys
Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood takes a step into the unknown as he directs an adaptation of the hugely successful West End musical Jersey Boys, but is it any good? Here's our review...
Tony Award-winning musical Jersey Boys makes its way to the big screen courtesy of director Clint Eastwood. The jukebox musical tells the story behind the formation, success and break-up of the iconic 1960s rock group The Four Seasons.
Who’s behind the camera?
Clint Eastwood takes the reins as director, which is an odd choice for a man more famous for crime dramas, sports films and westerns. But, he’s got more experience in this field that you think, as he’s composed scores for seven of his films including the Charlie Parker biopic in 1988 and Honkytonk Man in 1982.
The film has been scripted by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, the writers behind the initial stage production which premiered in 2004.
Any big stars?
In terms of the Four Seasons boys no big names. John Lloyd Young takes the role of lead singer Frankie Valli, a character he played in the Broadway production for which he won a Tony Award. Tommy DeVito is played by Vincent Piazza who you might recognise from HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. Erich Bergen best known for ‘How Sweet It Is’ is cast as Ed Gaudio the songwriter behind the band, then making his acting debut Michael Lomenda plays Nick Massi.
The most famous actor would be The Deer Hunter’s Christopher Walken with the supporting role as Gyp DeCarlo, a Jersey Mobster.
So what’s it like?
It can’t quite be classed as a musical because unlike Mamma Mia or Grease the cast don’t casually break into song mid conversation. Instead the music surrounds the Four Seasons performances through their career and they really are brilliant with the classic songs 'Sherrie', 'Big Girls Don’t Cry' and 'December 1963 (Oh What A Night)'. They will leave you wanting to jump out of your seat and clap along. And seeing as the film is on the long side of 135 minutes, jumping out of your seat might feel welcome. In terms of the drama side of the film, you follow the crime and betrayal surrounding the band before and during their success, leading to their eventual break-up. But when compared to the music in the film, the drama might be lacking.
How’s the script? Is it funny?
With Tommy DeVito and Frankie Valli originating from the wrong side of the tracks in New Jersey you get some proper Italian geezer chat. Plus with the Four Seasons having ties to the mob and half of them being regulars in prison there many laugh out loud moments with some comedy arrests.
Like in the show the film follows individual characters throughout the film, with them talking directly into the camera about the events they were a part of which works well as you get a feel for what each band member was like. However as I said above, it is a bit long and you do feel like some of the scenes aren’t entirely necessary and you wish they had included more of the songs.
How’s it look?
You do get the sense that you are back in the 1950s with all the quiffs, bowling alleys, cars with fins, the clothes plus with the early days filmed in desaturated colours for that post war American feeling.
Then the credits play homage to the films stage roots will all the cast re-joining for a ‘curtain call’ as they sing and dance down a Jersey street.
What’s the highlight?
Hilariously Clint Eastwood makes a brief cameo in short clip from his 1960s Western TV series Rawhide when Ed Gaudio is watching TV in his hotel room.
Where can I see it?
Jersey Boys hits UK cinemas today (20th June), it's going to be in every multiplex for sure.