Multi-award-winning actor and director Clint Eastwood turns his hand to the world of musicals by adapting stage success, Jersey Boys, for the big screen.
It’s the true story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons from their spectacular rise to fame in the ’60s with hit songs such as Big Girls Don’t Cry and Sherry to their eventual tempestuous disbanding.
The list of recognisable hits is longer than you might think and sadly, for a musical, they don’t get enough screen time. Songs have been cut or shrunk to make way for lingering looks and close-ups, which sometimes slows the pace to almost inert.
Big events in the original story are skipped over in cursory fashion to better focus on the underlying gritty biopic about four Italian boys from a tough New Jersey neighbourhood.
Three out of the four main cast members were plucked from the award-winning stage show, and are so comfortable within these versions of their characters that translating them to the screen is boring. The standout (which should be John Lloyd Young’s Frankie Valli) is actually television actor Vincent Piazza’s Tommy DeVito, which changes the intended narrative entirely.
No longer is Jersey Boys about the discovery of the century in Valli’s unique and powerful voice, or how the group rose to fame, it is now all about one hot-headed Jersey boy who threw a spanner in the works. When really, the music should be front and centre.
What did you think of Jersey Boys? Is the stage show or movie better?