Saturday, June 28, 2014

Jersey Boys (2014) review


Eastwood's take on the famed musical breathes new life into The Four Seasons history, but it seems like the film doesn't know what it truly wants to be, as well as proposing a failed narrative style.

PLOT:Frankie Castelluccio (John Lloyd Young) is a training hairdresser in the streets of New Jersey. Everyone claims his voice is a God-given gift, including his best friend and bad influence, Tommy DeVito (Vincent Piazza), and his protective mob boss, Gyp DeCarlo (Christopher Walken). One day, after days of jail time for many of his associates, Tommy decides to start a group with Frankie and try to get famous, hiring Bob Gaudio as the songwriter (Erich Bergen) and collaborating with Bob Crewe (Mike Doyle) as the recording agent. After recording "Sherry", "Big Girls Don't Cry", and "Walk Like a Man", the fame of The Four Seasons shoots to the top. However, many obstacles still stand in the group's way for true fame, such as large, unpaid debts, family conflicts, and personality conflicts between the members of the group. It's a great plot idea executed decently well. Some things could have been better.

ACTING:The performances in this film were very well done. John Lloyd Young, Vincent Piazza, and Michael Lomenda as Frankie, Tommy, and Nick were the top performances of the film. The emotion and chemistry between the characters in the film caught and held your attention to the fullest extent. Every dramatic scene is pulled together in the fullest extent by these three performances, as well as Erich Bergen and Mike Doyle as Gaudio and Crewe. Veteran actor, Christopher Walken, also played an excellent part as mob boss Gyp DeCarlo, adding a complex yet gentle stoicism to the character's outlook. Almost every performance in the film is nicely done, with extra regards to Frey Tingley as Francine Valli, Barry Livingston as the accountant, and Katherine Narducci as Mary Rinaldi. These performances weren't the best I've ever seen, but they definitely did their jobs with pride.

SCORE:The score and soundtrack to this film is excellently done. John Lloyd Young and the rest of the crew did a brilliant job of covering the hits of The Four Seasons, with a sound almost just like the unique sound of classic Valli and his Four Seasons. All of the major hits are included in here, from the three mentioned earlier to "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You", "My Eyes Adored You", "December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)", and many others. The covers sound almost as good as the official tracks.

OTHER CONTENT:This film was a very great portrayal of the life and times of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, but the execution had a few minor problems that kept the film from being a true gem. The film tries to please as many audiences as it can with sensational musical numbers, mature drama, and a light-hearted style of narrative. Not only does the narrative style fail and come off as unnecessary and cheesy, but the constantly-switching tones of the film deter it from being what it was truly meant to be, which was either a light-hearted play or a serious docudrama. The film had its high points, which were greatly high in regards to the professional direction of Clint Eastwood, but it won't go down in history as a masterpiece of a film, as a great handful of Eastwood's works have in the past.

OVERALL,a great docudrama with a great plot idea, captivating performances, excellent soundtrack breathing new life into Valli's music, and some great high points. However, the narrative style fails to flow along with the film itself, also adding to the problem that it's inconsistent with what type of film it truly wants to be.