** 1/2 out of 5
Rated R for language throughout
Warner Bros. Pictures
Article first published as Movie Review: ‘Jersey Boys’ on Blogcritics.
Well it was bound to happen sooner than later; the first official snoozefest of summer 2014 has finally arrived with Jersey Boys.
Broadway sensations are no stranger to Hollywood adaptations, but with
Clint Eastwood in the director’s chair, Warner Bros. should issue some
kind of energy drink with your tickets. And let’s get one thing
straight: Jersey Boys is not a musical. Fans will already know this, but in case you didn’t, think something more along Walk the Line, That Thing You Do!, or even Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, and you’ll have a better idea of what you’re in for.
in 1951, Tommy DeVito (Vincent Piazza) introduces us to the story of
The Four Seasons. Frankie Castelluccio (John Lloyd Young) is training to
become a barber when Tommy decides he wants to use Frankie’s voice in
his band. With Tommy and Nick Massi (Michael Lomenda) taking Frankie
under their wing, they eventually get introduced to songwriter Bob
Gaudio (Erich Bergen) by Joe Pesci (Joey Russo). Now, they want to
record some hit singles for Bob Crewe (Mike Doyle) but have to come up
with $3,500 first. Leave it to Tommy to get them all in over their heads
with babes, broads, and mobsters as Jersey Boys touches on every biopic cliché and in the laziest fashion possible.
For a film about a band, Jersey Boys sure doesn’t feel very
energetic. Originally Jon Favreau was attached to direct before Warner
Bros. nearly scrapped the film altogether. This would have served as a
great companion piece to his own Made, these kinds of
characters would be nothing new to “The Favs.” With Eastwood behind the
camera, there’s not a lot he can do with Marshall Brickman and Rick
Elice’s screen-adaptation of their original musical. The structure of
the film is told for the perspective of the main characters in four
“seasons.” While this may have worked on stage, breaking the fourth wall
in this setting translates poorly to the screen.
The cast all look like they were served Prozac before each take which
only makes the final scene — where they’re all made up to look like
aged versions of themselves — even funnier. Almost like a music-infused
version of The Walking Dead. The film will have its fans, as
does the Broadway production, but for anyone looking for a night out at
the movies, all this offers is lights out as you’re bound to doze off at
some point. The best thing to do with Jersey Boys would be to
skip seeing the film altogether and just buy a bunch of Four Seasons
albums to sit back and enjoy on your front porch while yelling at kids
to get off your lawn.
Photo courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures