“Jersey Boys” – Review By Zachary Marsh

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As someone who has had the privilege of seeing the Broadway version of “Jersey Boys,” I gotta say, this movie could have been a lot worse.  Considering that the musical itself was really just one set and was basically a non-stop song, (one that I loved, as a matter of fact) I will give credit and say that director Clint Eastwood did a solid job bringing “Jersey Boys” to the big screen.  Having said that, there are things he could have done to have made the movie more lively and much more powerful.  The story of Jersey Boys, both the film and the musical, is basically the forming, the success, and the downfall of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.  Where the musical is lively, upbeat, and just so fun to watch, the movie itself is gloomy, muted in color, and isn’t even really a musical, rather just a film with music thrown into it.  In fact, the only thing that remotely resembles a musical is a little thing that plays during the end credits.

The way they incorporated the music in the movie here, however, was actually pretty decent.  Not to mention, the acting particularly from John Lloyd Young, who plays Frankie, and Erich Bergen, who plays Bob Gaudio, is quite good.  In fact, I’d say they’re two of the best things about this movie.  However, the other characters present in the movie are either there for a paycheck, trying to hard, or are barely even there at all.  Seriously, there is one particular character (if you’ve seen the musical and/or the film you should know who I’m talking about) who is in this movie for two, maybe three scenes total, and is then axed off just to the hell of it.  When this plot element was done in the musical, it was done so we could get to know this person and feel sorry when this person died.  In the movie, you never get that feeling of caring at all.  It doesn’t help much either that the character most affected by this loss is feeling better and dandy within the 10 minutes that follow this tragic occurrence.

If a filmmaker wants to adapt a musical, that’s all good and fine, but you have to understand how to find a way to not only tell a great story with the great music used to your advantage, and you also have to find a way to appeal not only to yourself, but to general moviegoers and the fans of the musical as well.  Though I enjoyed myself in the theater for the 134 minutes this movie ran, I don’t think back on the film with fondness; rather with disappointment.  As a movie, it’s decent enough to see, and should appeal to the general masses.  As an adaptation of an incredible musical, though, this is a huge letdown considering the talent behind this.  If a director like Jon Favreau or Rob Marshall had had their hands on this project, I think they might have put more passion into this than Eastwood did.  I saw this at my local movie theater and I’m pretty sure everyone in there, who didn’t really respond to the film that much, were all from South Jersey.  That’s saying something if you’re making a movie about four musicians from New Jersey.

OVERALL SCORE: 6.5/10

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