In theatres this Friday from director Clint Eastwood and Warner Brothers comes a tale of a couple of JERSEY BOYS.
The film starts with the story of Frankie Valli (John Lloyd Young) as told by band member Tommy DeVito (Vincent Piazza). From humble beginnings Valli is the boy everyone looks out for, especially Gyp DeCarlo (Christopher Walken) who has a soft spot for Valli’s voice.
Tommy tells the story of, along with Nick Massi (Michael Lomenda), how the group came together singing in a band. Knowing there was something special about Valli’s falsetto, they begin looking for their niche in music. In his personal life Valli meets and marries Angela (Lacey Hannan), a woman who is a handful!
The boys are introduced to Bob Gaudio (Erich Bergen), who starts writing some of the most memorable songs for the group including “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”. As their success grows, the relationship between the guys becomes intense when it is discovered that Tommy has problems that affect them all.
Having fame kept them on the road and personal relationships began to fall apart as well but their songs are what everyone remembers and the name THE FOUR SEASONS!
FINAL WORD: Young as Valli is excellent! Of course I thought it took a while for him to ‘man up’ but will overlook it because of his vocals. Reprising his role, this must have seemed amazing for Young to be putting his performance on film for fans of the stage production of JERSEY BOYS.
Bergen as Bob is the genius of the group. Finding ideas in the most unexpected places, he turned into a hit making machine. Quickly understanding what must be done to keep the group together, he finds a kinship with Valli that is just magic.
Piazza as DeVito was annoying, irritating, ridiculous and greedy. I suppose that translates as he did a good job in this role but I didn’t need so much of it. From his idea of friendship and jealousy’s, this character manages to give friendship a bad name.
Lomenda as Massi is the quiet one of the group – for the entire film he basically sits back and watches things fall apart. When he finally does speak up it all seems like ramblings of a guy who should have gone home a long time ago. His deep voice was pretty gnarly though!
Walken as Cyp is the man who keeps Valli on the straight and narrow. The affection for the boy comes from his pipes! When things begin to fall apart, it is Cyp that attempts to keep it together. I love Walken anyway so even thought this isn’t a huge role, fans get a chance to at least see him.
Other cast include: Steve Schirripa as Vito, Johnny Cannizzaro as Nick DeVito, Renee Marino as Mary, James Madio as Stosh, Jeremy Luke as Donnie, Joey Russo as Joe Pesci, Donnie Kehr as Norm Waxman, and Freya Tingley as Francine.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give JERSEY BOYS three and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. I have pros and cons to the film so let me get through this if I may. The music will have fans of this era toe-tapping and singing along which is the fun part of the film. There was humor and strong music performances. Having seen JERSEY BOYS in Las Vegas it was fun to see it on the screen.
That being said the downside for me was the long and drawn out storyline that was very predictable. Down home boys make good and then good goes bad. There were gaps in the story that I couldn’t get past such as the quick storyline of his daughter Francine. It seemed, for quite a while, it was the Tommy DeCarlo story instead of the FOUR SEASONS. His life, problems and mouth just got to be too much after a while.
The final blow was the drawn out street music dance – whatever that was. It seemed cheesy and hardly did the film any justice. Of course I won’t be able to listen to another song by the FOUR SEASONS without screaming as the film just drilled the same songs over and over into my poor worn out cranium.
The cinematography was really cool and the costuming was amazing. Director Clint Eastwood used the stage actors who played these characters. Young reprises his Tony-winning role as Valli along with Donnie Kehr and Erica Piccininni.
In the end – everyone remembers it how they need to.