Like television shows, young adult fiction, and the cherished toys of our childhoods, no popular Broadway musical is currently safe from film adaptation. Hey, no complaints from this repressed musical theater nerd over here; I love all of them. Even the ones that aren't as good as they should be. Segue to: Jersey Boys.
Jersey Boys is about the rise to fame of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Those guys had some fun songs, and the hunky singers of this film deliver the jams with winks and wiggles and innocent hip-shaking. It was music for nerds, made by nerds. While the script plays up their rough and tumble beginnings, the members of the Four Seasons didn't really party all that hard. They're kinda boring. They were just... guys. From Jersey. Who fell apart. Because that's what a lot of friends do. But they just did it while singing in beautiful harmony.
The pacing of Jersey Boys is weird, though—all of the great stuff (SINGING!) is crammed into the middle, book-ended by boring miscommunication and money problems. The grit-to-glitter ratio was all messed up. Did I mention this movie was directed by Clint Eastwood? Well, that is important to know. Because you can take the Clint Eastwood out of a dilapidated cityscape of a fading American dream, but you can't take the fading American dream out of his movies. This approach works better when tackling subject matter like the American west or molested Catholic schoolboys; it comes off as rather heavy-handed in a musical about a 1960s boy band.
Jersey Boys tries to do far too much during its estimated two-hour run time, resulting in something that's as much Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story as it is Dreamgirls. But if you have a beating heart, and love song and dance (and Christopher Walken), Jersey Boys is... for YooooOOOOOuuuuUUUUUU!!! (Yes, that last part is meant to be read in song. Heck, read the whole review in song!)
dir. Clint Eastwood
Opens Fri June 20