Film Review: Jersey Boys


The songs are certainly memorable in the film adaptation of the musical Jersey Boys. It is a shame that other aspects of the film pale in comparison.

Frankie Valli is a teenager with a big voice growing up in Jersey. Along with his friends, Frankie dreams of making it big. As success comes within reach, The Four Seasons still have some obstacles to overcome…

The premise of Jersey Boys is decent, but this is let down by the execution of the narrative. The elements for a rags to riches tale are present; talented individuals, shady pasts and a meteoric rise to fame. Yet the film lacks the emotion that would really engage the audience. Moreover, early scenes of dodgy dealings and gangsters in New Jersey are clinical rather than gritty. It feels as if the film is not trying to be  authentic in the protagonists background, but neither is it effective in generating a reaction in its audience.

The film has some moments of drama, but emotional scenes are not successfully conveyed. Instead, the pace of Jersey Boys makes the film feel much longer than it actual run time. Some scenes could have easily been trimmed or omitted with no depreciation of the central narrative.

Although Jersey Boys concentrates primarily on Frankie Valli, other members of the group have their own strands. These gel together well enough. Nevertheless, there are some aspects, particularly in the latter half of the film that are not fleshed out properly. As a result, they appear superfluous.

Clint Eastwood’s direction shows none of the sharpness of some of his previous films. Jersey Boys suffers from the same issues of his previous two films in being overlong with a cumbersome narrative execution. John Lloyd Young is fine as Frankie, although does not look like a teenager in the least in earlier scenes. Vincent Piazza is more convincing as Tommy, whilst Christopher Walken is underused in a poorly written role. The ageing make up in the penultimate scene are laughable.

Clint Eastwood foray into musicals is unfortunately unsuccessful. This will probably not put off die-hard fans of Jersey Boys, but the film will have little pull beyond this audience.