The movie, which begins in New Jersey in 1951, and chronicles the story of the Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, is a sad tale whose only bright moments come with the musical performances, which are brilliant in themselves but are many times cut short so favorite songs are brought down to snippets of songs instead of full length performances.
The movie could have been bettered titled The Angry Jersey Boys as the story revolved again and again around lies and deceit as well as extra-marital affairs and constant fighting among the four characters. There were very few smiles even at the highest points of the boys’ careers. There always seemed to be a grudge or a feud. To be honest I couldn’t wait to get to the music to get away from the story. When the music came your foot starts to tap and you cannot help singing along with the standards that are still part of our countries musical heritage.
I think the fault lies directly with the script, which is interesting since the screen play and the Broadway version were both written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elise. I think they may have wanted to fine tune their original effort but instead they fine-tuned the heart out of the story. Another difficulty is the passage of time is only marked by the style changes in clothing and hair. If you are not familiar with these styles or do not remember the year certain songs debuted it is very difficult to know how much time has padded between scenes.
The four leads John Loyd Young (Frankie Valli) Vincent Piazza (Tommy DeVito) Johnny Cannizzaro (Nick DeVito) and Erich Bergen (Bob Gaudio) all did well with the material they had to work with and their voices were incredible. Clint Eastwood did a masterful job of directing what he had to work with, it was just that what he had to work with was not enough to sustain interest in a story lasting 135 minutes.
The high point of the movie comes at the end when a full cast finale is done with “Oh What A Night” I will find myself watching the finale over and over again as soon as it hits YouTube. It is fun and exhilarating and we find that Christopher Walken can dance.
With the price of movies now, I would suggest you wait for this to hit Redbox. Definitely see it but it will translate just as well to the small screen as it was on the big screen and you won’t have shelled out as much of your hard earned cash.
This movie is rated “R” but only for VERY strong language.