Clint Eastwood’s latest directorial effort is an adaptation of the popular Broadway musical Jersey Boys, following the rise and fall of the 1960s rock’n’roll group The Four Seasons and their lead singer Frankie Valli.
The film is basically Goodfellas, the musical. In the style of Ray Liotta’s Henry Hill, Jersey Boys opens with band member Tommy DeVito narrating directly to the camera. And if you think that name sounds familiar, it’s because Tommy DeVito is actually the name of Joe Pesci’s character in Goodfellas. Add to this that Pesci is himself a character in Jersey Boys, and it’s clear that the Goodfellas connection is not an accident.
The film is really well-made, and it does look fantastic, but it seems unable to decide whether it wants to be a gritty gangster flick or a Broadway show, which kills the narrative flow a little. It also takes a long time to reach its first song, but when it finally arrives the movie finds its flow. John Lloyd Young is absolutely fantastic as Valli, and he really captures that amazing voice that rocketed The Four Seasons to fame. Eastwood’s decision to maintain the Broadway cast for the film is an admirable one, and it definitely pays off in the musical numbers.
While Jersey Boys is enjoyable, it’s a little long and contains the extra cheese that has been a staple in most of Eastwood’s recent releases. It’s not one of his best, but it’s a solid film and will be a treat for fans of The Four Seasons.
Jersey Boys opens in cinemas Thursday July 3.