2014, Warner Bros. Pictures/Ratpac Entertainment/GK Pictures/Malpaso Productions
Marshall Brickman (screenplay and musical book)
Rick Elice (screenplay and musical book)
Gary D. Roach
John Lloyd Young (Frankie Valli)
Vincent Piazza (Tommy DeVito)
Michael Lomenda (Nick Massi)
Erich Bergen (Bob Gaudio)
Christopher Walken (Gyp DeCarlo)
Johnny Cannizzaro (Nick DeVito)
Mike Doyle (Bob Crewe)
Renee Marino (Mary)
Joseph Russo (Joey)
The Broadway show revolving around the legend of the Four Seasons comes to the big screen.
In 1951, New Jersey musician Tommy DeVito is the leader of a group with his brother Nick and a friend, Nick Massi. Tommy is also friends with a 16-year old barber’s assistant, Frankie Castelluccio, who has won admiration from a local mobster, Angelo “Gyp” DeCarlo. Impressed with his voice, Tommy invites Frankie to join them on stage for a song. After a skirmish with the law, Tommy is imprisoned for six months only to bring the band back with Frankie, who has changed his name to Frankie Valli, as their lead singer.
When Nicky leaves the group, they soon meet aspiring songwriter Bob Gaudio, whose composition “Short Shorts” has hit #2 on the charts. Impressed with Valli’s vocals, Gaudio is asked to join the group and the group meets producer Bob Crewe, who offers them a contract first as back-up singers, but after changing their name from “The Four Lovers” to “The Four Seasons” and Gaudio writing a song called “Sherry”, it becomes the beginning of what would be a career of ups and downs for the legendary group.
The hit Tony-award winning play has come to the big screen thanks to the very surprising direction of Clint Eastwood. Eastwood does an impeccable job directing this tale of the legendary Four Seasons and their rise to fame and eventual downfall in terms of certain members. What helps is that certain cast members from the original play actually transition from their roles on the stage to their roles in the film quite well.
John Lloyd Young reprises his signature and Tony Award-winning role of Four Seasons lead singer Frankie Valli and there is a reason why Young was able to bring it to the screens. He was the perfect fit in both acting and his vocal talents in the role of Valli. Vincent Piazza oozes trouble in his role of Tommy DeVito, who has a tendency when he is not singing to cause any sorts of trouble to a point where his ego gets the best of him, jeopardizing his tenure with the group. Erich Berger is also great in the role of core songwriter Bob Gaudio, who would become Frankie’s true confidant and the conscience of the group with Michael Lomenda rounding out the group as bassist Nick Massi.
Christopher Walken makes the most of his role as mobster Gyp DeCarlo, who the viewer doesn’t see doing any stereotypical crimes, but is only there as a last resort if anyone ticks off Frankie, due to his respect for him. In fact, in certain elements of the film, Frankie even resorts to acting similar to Gyp when it comes to decisions amongst the group. However, aside from the group issues, the film also delves into some of the personal issues the band must endure, such as an unexpected death in the family for one of the members, which leads into a major hit of the 1970’s.
Jersey Boys is a captivating and musical look at the life of one of the greatest pop groups of the 60’s and early 70’s, with some top notch performances. A worthy adaptation of a Broadway hit!
WFG RATING: A