Clint Eastwood is a cinema icon, and while not all of his directorial efforts are good, I do give the man kudos for his gutsy decisions regarding projects. Jersey Boys may not be the great masterpiece Clint was trying to make it, but it is a really good time and a fun film.
The key to success for this film – give unknown actors the lead roles. In the entire film, the only “name” in a major role was Christopher Walken. The quartet of leads were all essentially unknown – John Lloyd Young (Frankie Valli) is a Broadway veteran and won a Tony for his performance, and those familiar with Boardwalk Empire will recognize Vincent Piazza (Tommy DeVito) – but all four of the young actors got the chance to show off their talents, and got a great springboard for future endeavors. They each have their own charisma, and I hope they are able to get more of this type of high-profile work.
Tonally, there was something off with this film. While it was beautifully made, it felt like Clint was trying to mesh various genres, and it came across too comedic to be a straight drama, and too light to be a drama. Its a mish-mosh of various genres, and that serves as both a gift and a curse for the film as it never quite seems to know what it wants to be.
I am not quite sure if the allegations that Clint has lost his touch, and some feel he peaked with 2008’s marvelous Gran Torino. However, for someone making an effort to release a film annually, and for his attempts at doing a movie musical, I have to praise him for attempting to bring a musical theatre classic to the screens.
Jersey Boys may not be the adaptation that the legendary musical deserves, but it sure as hell is full of spunk and a lot of fun.