Jersey Boys - 8 stars out of 10
“Jersey Boys” was really good, but it could have been great. Director Clint Eastwood had a huge budget and unlimited resources, yet the film lost a lot of the energy and “wow factor” of the stage show. Don’t get me wrong, the movie is really good but the West End production was just that much better. I think that the problem lies in the first 15 minutes of the film. It is a musical but it takes way too long for the music to set in. Why not open the film with that stunning "Oh, What a Night" ending sequence and tell the story in flashback? The other downfall is that on stage, “Jersey Boys” feels like a musical/rock concert, telling the story behind each song and then performing it for the theater audience. While the format is the same, something is lost in translation as the group now sings to the audience in the movie world instead of us, the live audience. If you’ve ever seen this show onstage, you know that the live audience includes the older people who are literally dancing in the aisles and screaming like teenagers in the 60’s. That being said, the casting was amazing and the music exceeded my expectations. John Lloyd Young, who originated the role on Broadway, really captures the voice of Frankie Valli. It took a few minutes to adjust my ears because it isn’t identical, but his voice is so close that you’ll really believe that he is Frankie by the end of the film. The rest of the cast is great, particularly Vincent Piazza as Tommy DeVito, Renée Marino as Mary Delgado, Mike Doyle as the hilariously flamboyant Bob Crewe, and of course Christopher Walken as Gyp DeCarlo. The casting of lesser known actors is great as it takes away some of the distraction of which star you’ll see next (*cough Hairspray*) and puts the focus on the story. I also think that it’s so funny and cool that Joe Pesci is a part of this story. All of the chemistry is great, the harmonies blend, the dialogue is delivered from the heart, and the story is never overshadowed by the music. While the filming locations create an interesting atmosphere, the aforementioned aspects are what make “Jersey Boys” so special and why the film couldn’t improve upon the stage show experience. I’d recommend this movie to anyone that can handle several f-words and a bunch of s-words, but don’t view it as a substitute for seeing it on stage. This movie will entertain you, the stage show will change your opinion of Broadway forever.