Some films have that special something, and some films seem like they stepped in something. Allow me to help you know the difference, and maybe find you something good to watch.
Let’s start with the truth: I only watched this because Christopher Walken is in it.
The trailer looked like it was going to be THAT THING YOU DO mixed with a sanitized and kid-friendly GOODFELLAS, with musical numbers shoe-horned in and actor’s talking to the camera like they were Zack Morris. Aaaand I was right. Unfortunately.
Clint Eastwood – what happened, man? How is this the same guy that gave us MYSTIC RIVER? UNFORGIVEN? MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN…?
JERSEY BOYS is light-years away from those fine films, and instead finds itself nearer to SPACE COWBOYS. Not an awful flick, and neither is this. But I can’t call it good either.
So this is a musical based off the ’60s doo-wop group ‘The Four Seasons’ and it is filled with all of their hits: Walk Like a Man, Sherry, Oh What a Night, Rag Doll, etc. One of them was a surprise to me, though. I didn’t know they were responsible for ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’. I love that song.
Interestingly, Walken sang along to that golden oldie in a bar with his buddies in the film THE DEER HUNTER back in 1978.
Speaking of Walken, he’s good in this. He plays a well-respected Godfather-type named Gyp DeCarlo who sees the talent in young Frankie Valli and tries to protect him. He’s good, has a few lines and is only in a few scenes, but he absolutely sells the image of quiet power. He demands respect, and everyone falls over themselves to not piss him off.
Unfortunately, JERSEY BOYS doesn’t demand respect, it demands a rewrite, or at least a pillow for my head. It fails because in the end I just didn’t care about any of them. It fails because it wasn’t funny enough to cover up the melodrama. It fails every time one of the actors stops the flow of the film to talk directly to the audience. And they do it a lot. It works in Ferris Bueller, not here.
This film was too long, too clumsily directed, and too consistently mediocre.
Nothing awful, just meh. And that’s kind of worse.