Movie Review: Jersey Boys (2014)

Published On July 8, 2014 » 2370 Views» By admin »

Jersey-Boys-poster-1The polar opposite of Walk the Line. 

stars

If you go to Jersey Boys expecting another Dream Girls, you’ll be disappointed. However, Clint Eastwood’s update of the hit Broadway musical is a decent enough movie in its own right.

Jersey Boys tells the story of The Four Seasons. It starts off in 1951 Newark, where we meet Frankie (John Lloyd Young) who works as a barber’s assistant, and is buddies with a Mafioso (Christopher Walken). He also sings in a band with his pals Tommy and Nick (Vincent Piazza and Michael Lomenda), who are troublemakers up to all kinds of scams. It’s not until songwriter Bob Gaudio (Erich Bergen) joins the band that things begin to take off. Working with ace producer Bob Crewe (Mike Doyle), they release three No 1 singles in a row: Sherry, Big Girls Don’t Cry and Walk Like a Man. Then, money problems and general discord start to eat away at the unity of the band.

First, this movie, with a run time of about 2 hours, is far too long. While this might be a good run time for movies with a ton of meat, this one falls decidedly flat, especially at about the 1 hour and 20 minute mark where it should have ended. Expect the movie to end with you having a numb backside.

When it comes to dealing with the more interesting aspects, like the New Jersey tough guy subculture and the music itself, the film really shines. The characters are lively, and the songs are iconic. It’s interesting, because this movie is kind of the polar opposite of Walk the Line.

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In Walk the Line, we learn that Johnny Cash played the outlaw to appease fans. In Jersey Boys, we meet 4 guys hiding their outlaw roots and adopting preppy, clean cut images…to appease fans.

When it comes to musical scenes, Eastwood does a fantastic job of staying true to the era while still keeping the music engaging. The actors involved portray their characters well but the movie comes across as whitewashed.

It never really had the energy to get it going and it slowly dissolved into clichés. Musicians with money problems and angst is so “been there, done that” that it really doesn’t need to be commented on anymore. Whenever I watch a band movie, I fully expect the band to fall apart at the end. It’s just how the music industry goes.

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JERSEY-BOYS-SHAVING

I would have liked to see more of their rise to fame and less of their plummet into failure at the end. Right around the time where they make it big might have been the ideal spot to end it, because it was a very unusual take on the genre at the time. I really loved the conflict between the bandmates public personas and their private ones, and would have loved to see more of that, rather than their inevitable money troubles and break-up.

Jersey Boys is a good effort, but it plods with too long a run time and too many overblown clichés. It could have been fantastic with a shorter run and a bit more focus on the Mafioso aspect, but it was still worth the watch.  Watch the official trailer below:

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