Wednesday 25 June 2014

Review: Jersey Boys

World of Blackout Film Review

Jersey Boys Poster

Jersey Boys
Cert: 15 / 134 mins / Dir. Clint Eastwood
WoB Rating: 5/7

Other than seeing the trailer once, I hadn't looked too far in to Clint Eastwood's Jersey Boys as I didn't expect it to be on at our local. So it was with some surprise that the BBFC card revealed the Summer-release adaptation of a West End musical to be a 15 certificate. Ooh, I though, this might actually have a bit of heft to it. Sadly, that's not really the case. The 15 cert appears to be there due to the amount of effing-and-jeffing going on which, while it's hardly excessive, is clearly too much for the 12A bracket*1.

And so, with the sole exception of an encore-medley where all of the cast are ammased on a single soundstage, what I'd expected to be a straightforward Musical™ actually plays more like a regular biopic of The Four Seasons. The film relies heavily on their music, of course, but all of the songs featured occur in the context of the story, in recording studios and theatre stages (ie, no-one suddenly bursts into song, in order to express their feelings). Because of this, the plot/playlist is far more linear, and hits such as Sherry feature because the group are writing them at that time, rather than there being someone called 'Sherry' shoehorned into the screenplay*2.

The (half-arsedly implemented) conceit of the story is that the group speak directly to camera as individuals, breaking the fourth wall and giving their own perspective on pivotal moments in their careers. However these interjections, whilst very welcome, seem too sporadic to be a feature, and the at-the-time opinions of Frankie, Tommy, Bob and Nick rarely seem to differ too much (plus the fact that lead-singer Frankie speaks to camera just once in the entire film). But it's this technique in addition to a very gently painted depiction of turbulent private lives and loose connections to the mob, which give Jersey Boys a sort of Goodfellas-Lite feel.

But all in all, I found the film quite charming and entertaining. It didn't make me run out and buy tickets to the stage show, but I honestly don't think that's its intention. Perhaps not trying quite as hard as it could, Jersey Boys is still a solidly entertaining couple of hours in the popular music industry of years gone by.

Oh, and when the judge asks Frankie (who's clearly in his thirties) how old he is, and he replies "16", you may spit some of your drink out like I did. And the make-up in the final sequence is a bit 'Back To The Future 2' as well. But this is what happens when you try to cover 45 years with the same cast. It's no biggie, but it is noticeable.

Is the trailer representative of the film?
It is.

Did I laugh, cry, gasp and sigh when I was supposed to?

Does it achieve what it sets out to do?
No, but it's on the right path.

Pay at the cinema, Rent on DVD or just wait for it to be on the telly?
It's a DVD on a Sunday night.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?

Will I watch it again?
I will, but not for a while.

Is there a Wilhelm Scream?
There ain't.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

And my question for YOU is…
Okay, what is THIS, please?
How come not one person in the film points out that you can have "The Four Seasons", or "Frankie Valli and The THREE Seasons", but you can't have "Frankie Valli and the FOUR Seasons" as there's only four of them to begin with? Martha Reeves wasn't also one of The Vandellas, y'know. "The Ants" did not, as a collective, also automatically include Adam. It's not "Death and the Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse", is it?
For crying out loud...

*1 Although I suspect the only people saying the f*ck-word throughout the 12A rated 'Walking on Sunshine' will be the audience.
*2 Yes, Sunshine On Leith, I'm looking at you. "Oh, Jean", indeed. Twats.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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