For the 4th of July weekend a couple of weeks back I visited with my family for a few days and mom and I decided to go to the movies and watch Jersey Boys, Clint Eastwood's movie adaptation of the Broadway play about the life and times of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.
Jersey Boys the movie somewhat follows the tradition of a play translated to the big screen by having the characters speak in asides to the audience. So it tries as much as possible to stay true stylistically to a play, which I like. The movie chronicles the founding and rise to fame of The Four Seasons: Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi. The story line is entertaining and easy to follow. It's not one of those movies where you have to figure stuff out, it is what it is. Frankie Valli as the lead singer with a unique vocal range has the star power that carries the group to success, but they must fight through the financial hardships brought on in large part by Tommy DeVito the band's lead guitarist.
The music is a sampling of many of the Four Seasons greatest hits (penned by Gaudio) including such songs as Ragdoll, Walk Like a Man, Dawn, Big Girls Don't Cry and December 1963 (Oh What a Night) as well as other hits. If the actors do their own singing then the singing is really quite good and far, far better than the singing in the movie adaptation of MaMa Mia for example. If you love the Four Season's music you might take a critical eye to the song performances, but if you are simply a movie-goer looking for a fun movie then the music performance is not an obstacle to your enjoyment.
The personalities, both their personal and professional dynamic are interesting and portrayed quite well. Tommy DeVito's character is both very likable and also very easy not to like at the same time. He is established as the driving force behind the band but comes off as someone who is looking out only for his own best interests, while veiling his monatary gambles under the guise of group management and marketing. I think all the characters are likable but faulted, falling victim to some of the pitfalls that many famous bands fall victim to, especially in regards to relationship fidelity.
Overall the movie is a good movie and worth the ticket price if you are a fan of plays. If you don't particularly enjoy plays then the style of the movie may not appeal to you, but I think it's still worth the Red Box rental on a rainy night or cold winter night.