Cary, NC — Jersey Boys is an adaptation of the Broadway musical telling the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. Director Clint Eastwood strips away most of the musical elements of the play and instead goes for a more straight forward biopic of the band.
Thankfully, The Four Seasons’ tale is much more interesting than your standard ‘rags to riches to rags again’ story, which helps Jersey Boys rise above the rest for its genre.
Not Your Usual Bio Pic
Going into Jersey Boys, it’s safe to say that I was completely unaware of the history of the band. I was aware of their music of course, as their songs were in steady rotation in my household as a child thanks to my parents. But I had no idea the band had a story worth telling.
I’m not the biggest fan of musical biography films, because usually the only reason to see them is to see who is playing said person, and the film as a whole tends to take a backseat to the performance.
Eastwood Casts Unknown Actors To Great Effect
With Jersey Boys though, Eastwood cast unknowns as the leads, keeping the bigger name actors to bit parts. This allows the audience to buy into the characters as real people, as opposed to seeing actors play famous people. And, for the most part, it works.
Vincent Piazza and Michael Lomenda do great work as Tommy Devito and Nick Massi, the guys who grew up with and formed a band with Frankie Valli. Both have the swagger and charm one would expect from a couple of Jersey boys in the 1950s.
There is something in particular about Lomenda, though, that fascinated me. We probably get to spend the least amount of time with his character in the film, but Lomenda just demands your attention any time he’s on screen. Granted, he’s about a foot taller and blonder than any person who appears in the film, but he’s got such a great presence on screen that I really can’t wait to see where he pops up next.
Oddly, actor John Lloyd Young, who plays Frankie Valli, a role he originated on the stage, fairs the worst of the group. There’s nothing particularly bad about his performance, but there’s nothing great either. It could be a fault of the script, but his character just comes across as ‘The Talent’ of the group and not much more. It’s a shame really, but not one that drags down the film as a whole.
Jersey Boys: Interesting Story Worth Your Time
In the end, Jersey Boys is as entertaining as it is because of its story.
Instead of the usual party and drug lifestyle that comes with sudden fame in these biographies (and there is some of that here, to be fair ), the tragedy and downfall of this group stems from the loyalty that helped bring them together.
In other words, Jersey Boys in definitely worth your time!