News

REVIEW: ‘Jersey Boys’ lack punch

REVIEW: ‘Jersey Boys’ lack punch

/Warner Bros.

Genre: Biography, Drama, Musical | Run Time: 134 min | Rated: R
Director: Clint Eastwood | Starring: John Lloyd Young, Erich Bergen, Michael Lomenda

By: George Wolf

The end credits in Jersey Boys that  roll over a musical number that bursts suddenly with toe-tapping exuberance. While it’s a fine way to send an audience home smiling, it’s also an unfortunate reminder of one of the elements missing from the previous 130-odd minutes.

Director Clint Eastwood‘s film version of the Tony award-winning tribute to the Four Seasons ends up caught in an awkward space between stage and screen. Either Eastwood had too much reverence for the source material, or too little concern for what differentiates successful projects on stage and on film.

Eastwood stocks the cast with stage veterans, starting at the top, with John Lloyd Young reprising his award-winning Broadway role as lead singer Frankie Vallli. Valli has one of the most unique voices in pop music history, and though Young can’t match it, he comes impressively close.

Still, the musical numbers are strangely lacking in punch. Though the songs are instantly recognizable, the performances are filmed with a detached, esoteric quality, lacking the period authenticity of Alison Anders’s Grace of My Heart or the joyous fun of Tom Hanks’s That Thing You Do.

Screenwriters Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice adapt their own musical book with a condensed version of the Rashomon-style storytelling utilized on the stage. Group members Tommy DeVito, Nick Massi, Bob Gaudio and Valli still offer conflicting, first-person views on their shared history, but the melodramatic tone mutes any possible resonance.

Many of the performances seem equally forced, as Eastwood can’t get the theatre-trained actors to dial it down and realize they no longer need to emote for the folks in the back row.

Eastwood does make the effort to include his requisite nods to Catholicism, as well as cheesy in-jokes on actor Joe Pesci’s pivotal role in Four Seasons history, and the director’s own “spaghetti western” background.

Ultimately, the boy’s rise from petty criminals to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members deserves better. Jersey Boys keeps their story at arm’s length, never bringing any intimacy or magic to the screen adaptation. It may well leave you humming a few tunes, but that’s about as deep an impression as it makes.

Verdict-2-5-Stars

Recent Headlines

in Music

Dierks Bentley takes cancer-stricken fan for a drive

Fresh
dierks

SEE THE PICTURES: The "Home" hitmaker played chauffeur for longtime fan Ann Soyars in his 1967 Camaro.

in Music

You can listen to Jason Aldean’s album before it goes on sale

Fresh
aldean

Check out "Old Boots, New Dirt" before you can buy it.

in Entertainment

Mila Kunis is a mom

Fresh
kunikutcher

Former "That '70s Show" co-stars Kunis and Ashton Kutcher have become parents for the first time.

in Music

Tony Bennett sets record for oldest artist to top Billboard

Fresh
tonybennett

At 88, the veteran performer is the oldest living artist to land a No. 1 record, with his latest compilation of duets with Lady Gaga.

in Sports, Trending, Viral Videos

TODAY’S MUST SEE: Team’s ‘Ugly Kardashian’ trick play

17-overlay2

Lewis and Clark Middle School's football team gets tricky with a special play called the "Ugly Kardashian."