Starring: John Lloyd Young, Erich Bergen, Michael Lomenda, Vincent Piazza, Christopher Walken
Directed by: Clint Eastwood
Written by: Marshall Brickman, Rick Elice
Rating: R (US) Running Time: 2 hr 14 min
Jersey Boys is a biopic piece about The Four Seasons, one of the biggest bands on the planet during the 1960’s. They sold over 100 million records, had several No.1 singles and appeared on the Ed Sullivan show. They were as big as the Beatles, and were making hit records before, during and after Beatlemania had died away. But despite all that rich history, Jersey Boys the movie felt strangely lifeless to me.
Here’s an example of the tone I’m trying to describe. Say we’re talking about the release of the band’s first big hit, Sherry. The movie tells us the band released a record called Sherry, and it was very well received. When in my mind it should be saying, The Four Seasons blast into the annals of world pop music history with the revelatory unique sounding new hit record, Sherry. See what I’m getting at? Because the entire movie, to me at least, felt like a catalog of events rather than a story celebrating this bands music and achievements.
It also felt very familiar to all the other biopics I’ve ever seen. There’s the initial struggle to get noticed, then the rapid rise to the top followed by trials and tribulations as the band struggle to balance family, friendships, money and fame. Which I will concede is going to be nearly impossible to avoid doing considering it IS the story. I just wished some attempt was made to break from that formula, and challenge the audience with a new twist on the biopic genre.
On the plus side, the musical numbers are well put together, the performances are good, and the film looks great. A lot of care an attention was put into accurately describing the time period, and the production design from clothing to props does a solid job immersing you into the time period the story is set.
If you’re a fan of the band, or the Tony Award-winning musical show the movie is based on you should find this movie entertaining. Even if you’re not a huge fan of the music, you’ll still likely recognize it and find some elements of this film are worth your time. It follows a very familiar biopic formula, but it’s not a bad film at all.
This is nicely shot, so a matinée is recommended and at home, a HD viewing. A screen smaller than your TV will not serve the film well.
Best Moment: << Spoilers! >>
Mick Massi’s (Michael Lomenda) rant during a meeting to discuss Tommy DeVito’s (Vincent Piazza) debt was the highlight for me. Everything Christopher Walken did was great to watch too!