#REVIEW: “JERSEY BOYS”
Review by Jonathan Godfrey for Mr. Will Wong
Jersey Boys began as an attempt to repurpose Bob Gaudio’s Music into a Broadway Musical. But what was originally imagined as an exciting new Narrative backed by Bob’s songs soon became something else entirely. Something based on a True Story, the Story of the Four Seasons.
Its arrival in Toronto marked the rise of the now-defunct Dancap Productions, Mirvish’s only contemporary Competitor. The City loved the Jersey import, and thanks to Clint Eastwood’s theatrical take, the City can see it anew.
That’s right Clint Eastwood helms this Jukebox Musical, and he does so proudly. For the unaware, Eastwood is an accomplished Musician himself, having composed numerous pieces over the decades. Now he’s directing a decade old musical about Frankie Valli and his Trio of crooning companions.
Cinema Newcomer and Broadway Star John Lloyd Young plays Frankie, and does so well. With the assistance of exceptional hair and makeup, Frankie and the Boys go from 16 to 60 in their Rise-and-Fall Story. Perhaps the most memorable performance given by the Quarterly Quartet comes from Tommy DeVito, played by Boardwalk Empire’s Vincent Piazzo. But then again he gets all the good lines. While the rest of the boys walk a more straight and narrow path toward celebrity, Tommy starts off as a made-Man and never feels the need to correct himself.
After all these Jersey Boys ended up becoming American Icons. How they got there is explained theatrically from minute one to close, all backed by Bob’s music, the Music that funded their Playboy antics and birthed a whole new sound. From Sherry to Can’t Take My Eyes Off You the sound is certainly memorable, and its intriguing to gain some insight into how it all came about.
How it all looked is a subject to debate, but the way Clint’s long time costume designer Deborah Hopper dresses it up, it’s definitely picturesque. Almost as lovely as the Film’s Broadway Babe Renee Marino. She plays Valli’s Wife, and does so with fiery passion and inspiring good looks. But these positive points are flip-flopping, so they may be hard to follow. Kind of like the Film’s Narrative. It’s a bit here and there in a way that may make one scratch their head. Perhaps this is because of the Story’s grand scope, perhaps it’s as ambitious as the Boys it’s based on. Either way, it’s not a condemning point, it’s simply something noticeable. As noticeable as all that is good about it, and all that is good about it will certainly be enjoyed by new Fans and old.
Warner Bros. Pictures Canada release JERSEY BOYS on Friday, June 20, 2014.