Review: Jersey Boys – My eyes abhorred you
Okay, so maybe “My eyes abhorred you” is a little harsh for the title of my review for Jersey Boys, the new film by director Clint Eastwood, based on the rise and fall of the sixties musical group, The Four Seasons; but dang it, it was just too good of a tagline to waste. The film is actually more boring than abhorrent, but it’s certainly easier to listen to than it is to watch.
Despite his fantastical ramblings to an invisible President Obama a couple of years back, I truly love old man Clint Eastwood; but I’m starting to wonder if the 84 year-old actor/director shouldn’t have rode off into the sunset after 2008’s Gran Torino, because his last couple of pictures (Trouble With the Curve and now Jersey Boys) have proven that he is at his best when he stays within his wheelhouse. (But who’s got the Ranchero Huevos to tell that to the aging artist? Apparently, no one.)
Jersey Boys is based on the Tony Award-winning musical play of the same title, which tells the story of music legend Frankie Valli and his band, The Four Seasons. The music this group created has become part of the American lexicon, with songs like Sherry, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Walk Like a Man, Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, and, yes, My Eyes Adored You, being embedded in every American’s DNA for the past fifty years.
The film’s narrative jumps between the perspectives of the four members of The Four Seasons, Tommy DeVito (Vincent Piazza), Bob Gaudio (Erich Bergen), Nick Massi (Michael Lomenda), and John Lloyd Young reprising his role as the falsetto voiced Frankie Valli from the original Broadway production.
Because the movie is obviously set in New Jersey, we get the stereotypical “Jersey” attitudes and street gang shenanigans that quickly wear thin with anyone not from the Garden State. Jersey Boys also stars Christopher Walken as Gyp DeCarlo, a mobster who (sort of) looks out for the band’s wellbeing (especially Valli’s.) I couldn’t help but wait for the veteran actor (Walken) to order more cowbell mixed-in to the band’s recordings.
Speaking of “Behind the Music” parodies, this film is pretty much just that; except for being overlong (at about two and a half BTM episodes in length) and with no actual band footage or interviews. There are a couple of laughs and some fantastic music, but you can get that from listening to a CD of The Four Seasons greatest hits while doing something productive.
The capper on this mediocre movie is a recreation of The Four Seasons’ induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which has the primary actors in some of the most horrendously bad make-up I’ve seen in a while; which is “unforgivable” as Eastwood should know how old age make-up is supposed to look (i.e. check the mirror.)
If you love Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons and their music, and you have a high-tolerance for New Jersey arrogance, then you might enjoy this film (providing you are hopped-up on enough caffeinated soda to stay awake.) Grade: 4.5/10
Photos © 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.