Well it was bound to happen sooner than later; the first official snoozefest of summer 2014 has finally arrived with Jersey Boys. Broadway sensations are no stranger to Hollywood adaptations, but with Clint Eastwood in the director’s chair, Warner Bros. should issue some kind of energy drink with your tickets. And let’s get one thing straight: Jersey Boys is not a musical. Fans will already know this, but in case you didn’t, think something more along Walk the Line, That Thing You Do!, or even Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, and you’ll have a better idea of what you’re in for.
Beginning in 1951, Tommy DeVito (Vincent Piazza) introduces us to the story of The Four Seasons. Frankie Castelluccio (John Lloyd Young) is training to become a barber when Tommy decides he wants to use Frankie’s voice in his band. With Tommy and Nick Massi (Michael Lomenda) taking Frankie under their wing, they eventually get introduced to songwriter Bob Gaudio (Erich Bergen) by Joe Pesci (Joey Russo). Now, they want to record some hit singles for Bob Crewe (Mike Doyle) but have to come up with $3,500 first. Leave it to Tommy to get them all in over their heads with babes, broads, and mobsters as Jersey Boys touches on every biopic cliché and in the laziest fashion possible.
For a film about a band, Jersey Boys sure doesn’t feel very energetic. Originally Jon Favreau was attached to direct before Warner Bros. nearly scrapped the film altogether. This would have served as a great companion piece to his own Made, these kinds of characters would be nothing new to “The Favs.” With Eastwood behind the camera, there’s not a lot he can do with Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice’s screen-adaptation of their original musical. The structure of the film is told for the perspective of the main characters in four “seasons.” While this may have worked on stage, breaking the fourth wall in this setting translates poorly to the screen.
The cast all look like they were served Prozac before each take which only makes the final scene — where they’re all made up to look like aged versions of themselves — even funnier. Almost like a music-infused version of The Walking Dead. The film will have its fans, as does the Broadway production, but for anyone looking for a night out at the movies, all this offers is lights out as you’re bound to doze off at some point. The best thing to do with Jersey Boys would be to skip seeing the film altogether and just buy a bunch of Four Seasons albums to sit back and enjoy on your front porch while yelling at kids to get off your lawn.
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