News

REVIEW: ‘Jersey Boys’ lack punch

REVIEW: ‘Jersey Boys’ lack punch

Photo: YouTube

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

Latest Stories

51 mins ago in Entertainment

Pitch, please: Julia Robert ‘sells’ sex toys on ‘Ellen’

Fresh
25-overlay-10

The "Pretty Woman" star, who plays a host on the Home Shopping Network (HSN) in her new movie "Mother's Day," was tasked with gushing about a blind item, which members of the studio audience could see.

2 hours ago in Viral Videos

WATCH: Annoying Windows reminder interrupts live TV report

Updated
20-overlay-12

Please excuse this interruption ...

3 hours ago in Albemarle County, Charlottesville City, Local, Surrounding Counties, UVA

New JAUNT Route Begins Monday

JAUNT 29 Express logo with county seal (sent to us)

A new JAUNT route serving a heavily-populated area begins Monday morning.

5 hours ago in Sports, Weird

Shall I compare thee to a carburetor? Indy 500 gets a poet

indy500383817720211

An Indiana University student who is a poet and a performer has been named the Indianapolis 500's first official poet since the early 20th century.

6 hours ago in National

Survey: Most Americans support usage fees to fix crumbling roads

highwaysREUTERS

The cost to repair and upgrade the U.S. surface transportation system to meet current and future demands is in the "hundreds of billions of dollars," the U.S. Government Accountability Office said last year.