“Jersey Boys” Review by Ashley Menzel


Jersey BoysI want to start this off by saying that I think Hollywood needs to stop taking Broadway shows and adapting them to film. It is an unnecessary and unwarranted attack on a medium that is already suffering. The stage performance, in so many ways is more demanding and deserves more respect than a film performance, and they don’t get the recognition they deserve because people are so ill-cultured and don’t venture out of their comfort zone to see a musical of four men singing together. ‘Merica.

Jersey Boys is Clint Eastwood’s long awaited film adaptation of the Broadway musical. While many people value Eastwood as a great director, I tend to shy away from that denotation and say he has been lucky and doesn’t really show any promise as a director. Well, his luck ran out with Jersey Boys.

Beginning with a “zero creativity” interpretation of the musical, coupled with an emotionless performance by Valli (John Lloyd Young),Jersey Boys fell very flat, hit a sour note, didn’t jive with the music, missed the beat, or whichever cliché pun you would like to apply to it. I am a HUGE fan of the musical itself. I saw the touring company in Philadelphia and loved it but what the movie lacked most was what it never really ever had a chance of having, and that was the energy and vivacious nature of live show. Perhaps if I hadn’t seen the musical, I would feel differently.

The emotionless performance by Young or the fact that there was little to no makeup change that was anywhere close to making him look 16, or 30, or 50, is amazingly not the most awful part of the movie. The most awful part of the movie was Christopher Walken being Christopher Walken. Love him or hate him, he was just plain ridiculous in this movie. Every time he spoke, I felt like he was mocking the audience as if saying “hey, I AM Christophaaa Walken. In a … moo …vie. In… the mob. HEY…  I’m Christophaaa Walk…en,” with his usual disjointed sporadic delivery. Please, just don’t.

Generally speaking, the movie has a decent story…. BECAUSE IT WAS A DIRECT COPY OF THE MUSICAL WHICH WON A TONY AWARD FOR BEST MUSICAL. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know the story, which is an exact copy of musical, should be decent. The majority of the jokes and lines are the same, the story is the same and even some actors are the same. In my opinion, the best part of the movie, and the only part that made it in anyway enjoyable was the music. Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons made incredible music that transcends generations, but it couldn’t save this film.

Overall, this movie was underwhelming, with little emotion and general blasé feel. I suggest that you support the performing arts and see the stage version. You will have much more fun and support a dying art. Or better yet Hollywood, give every musical to Clint Eastwood to direct a film adaptation so maybe people will begin to listen when we say the musical is better than the film.

Final Rating – 4/10

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