"Jersey Boys" - It's not perfect, but it's worth seeing.

Jersey BoysThere's one song near the end of Clint Eastwood's, Jersey Boys that finally lifts the spirits of the audience which has spent an hour and a half going through the ups and downs of the record industry, gambling debts, mob threats, family disasters and the infighting that can occur in a "group project". The song is "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" and as sung by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons It's a fitting climax to the movie that, in spite of a few faults, is well worth seeing.

The setting is New Jersey in the 1950's where we first meet the four street-wise, mob influenced punks in the act of trying to hijack a huge metal safe. Two of the boys actually do time, but with the mentoring of mobster Gyp DeCarlo, played deliciously by Christopher Walken, they develop a singing style that gets them jobs in bars and bowling alleys and nothing but the big time lies ahead. The singers are almost all young men who've played their roles in the Broadway production on which the film is based and they are all perfectly cast. John Lloyd Young is Frankie Valli; Erich Bergen plays Bob Gaudio; Michael Lomenda plays Nick Massi and Vincent Piazza is Tommy DeVito. The producer who finally pulls it all together, Bob Crewe is very well played by Mike Doyle. Unfortunately the ladies in their lives are more decorative than anything else and used mainly for plot development.

Eastwood and his production designer have done a marvelous job in recreating the 50's with the clothes, the vintage cars and the interiors. There's shot in Valli's house that caught my eye. On the wall hangs a clock with a picture of the pope on one side and Frank Sinatra on the other. Nostalgia can become wearisome at times but in the hands of someone like Eastwood, who's been around the block a few times, it's a joy. I liked his approach to telling this story on the screen, which is quite a departure from the stage version which is still playing on Broadway. Besides, this is a movie, not a play. It's enlightening as well as entertaining. Go to see it. I think you'll have a good time.

Time: 134 minutes

Rating  "R" for language

 

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