Wednesday, October 22, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Review: Eastwood’s ‘Jersey Boys’ catchy but uneven

By
From page B3 | June 20, 2014 |

Jocelyn Noveck

You don’t have to be middle-aged, or even an adult, to know songs like “Sherry,” ”Big Girls Don’t Cry,” and “Walk Like a Man.” Sure, they’re ’60s-era hits by The Four Seasons, but they’ve become such pop culture fixtures that even youngsters who’ve never heard the name Frankie Valli could surely croon a few bars in his signature falsetto.

It’s little wonder that the stage musical “Jersey Boys” has become one of the most successful shows in Broadway history on the strength of those sublimely catchy tunes. And it’s also little wonder that the prospect of bringing the show to the screen appealed to Clint Eastwood, who at 84 is still, blessedly, up for challenges.

What’s rather curious, though, is that with all the talent involved — not only Eastwood as director, but an excellent cast plucked from “Jersey Boys” stage regulars — the film is distinctly uneven, hugely appealing at times and oddly pedestrian, even cheesy, at others.

One problem may be that “Jersey Boys” tries to do a few things at once. On one level, it’s a fairly faithful re-creation of the Broadway show; the same writers, Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, penned the screenplay, and the excellent John Lloyd Young reprises his Tony-winning performance as Valli. But it also aims to be an edgier film exploring the band’s entanglements with the mob back in Jersey — a sort of “Goodfellas” to pop music. The goals don’t always mix.

The dialogue, too, sometimes sounds overly, well, stagey. And a key convention of the show — band members breaking the fourth wall to address the audience directly — is used unevenly, abandoned for long stretches and suddenly popping up when it doesn’t feel needed.

We begin as Frankie Castelluccio, a sweet-faced boy of 16 (Young, at 38, somehow pulls this off) is trying to break through as a singer while training at a barbershop. Luckily, he’s supported by music-loving mob boss Gyp DeCarlo (Christopher Walken, in a sure-bet role here) and loyal buddy Tommy DeVito (Vincent Piazza), who can’t stay out of trouble himself, but through sheer grit launches the band that will become The Four Seasons.

The two, plus bassist Nick Massi (Michael Lomenda) are struggling for attention when aspiring agent Joey Pesci (yes, that Joe Pesci) introduces them to songwriter Bob Gaudio (Erich Bergen.) Gaudio’s talent is just what they need.

It takes a full hour to get to a big musical number, and boy, it’s a welcome relief to hear the boys sing “Sherry,” their first number-one hit.

Other hits follow — and all kinds of trouble. The movie, best when it lets us simply enjoy these lovely harmonies and Young’s terrific falsetto stylings, soon veers back into band infighting. Tommy, we learn, has landed the boys in serious financial straits. Heartache ensues.

And what about the women, you ask? Alas, they begin on the sidelines, and stay there. As Mary, Frankie’s wife, Renee Marino is sexy and smart in the beginning, but turns into a total caricature of a drunken shrew by mid-movie. Speaking of caricatures, Frankie’s yelling-across-the-table Italian-American family seems a bit much, too.

On a technical level, the film veers between creative and oddly mediocre, namely in a driving sequence that looks so fake, you wonder if it was intentional.

There’s one striking misstep in tone, too. When Frankie sings “My Eyes Adored You” to his school-aged daughter, you have to wonder if the filmmakers thought about this prominent lyric, certainly not meant to be about a child: “Though I never laid a hand on you, my eyes adored you.”

The film, though, comes through at other moments, mainly those involving the pure joy of making music that sounds good. A closing credits sequence is like a Broadway show of its own (and who doesn’t love to see Walken dancing?) At those moments, much is forgiven. Sure. We’ll stay, just a little bit longer.

“Jersey Boys,” a Warner Bros. release, is rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America “for language throughout.” Running time: 134 minutes. Two and a half stars out of four.

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
Crime key topic again at Fairfield candidates night

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1, 42 Comments | Gallery

 
Dixon corn maze breaks own world record

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A2, 2 Comments | Gallery

Families Helping Families preps for holidays

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Charity Tree Auction application deadline nears

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

Tots can trick-or-treat at Solano Town Center

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Car washes raising money to fight breast cancer

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Fairfield Police Department promotes 2, honors 1

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3, 3 Comments | Gallery

 
 
2 new challenges part of 2014 Solano Turkey Trot

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
PAL center seeks volunteers

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Solano names new First 5 director

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A6

 
$1.4M land sale by Fairfield gets OK

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A6, 2 Comments

Action, thriller movies headed to box office

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7

 
Fairfield police log: Oct. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: Oct. 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Oct. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: Oct. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Oct. 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: Oct. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

FBI: Denver girls may have tried to join jihadis

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 4 Comments

 
IS fighters seize weapons cache meant for Kurds

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Assad pursues withering campaign against rebels

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
7 arrested in Oakland raid on Black Muslim Temple

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

Stinky seaweed piling up at upscale Laguna Beach

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Golden Gate Bridge officials float sidewalk toll

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8, 5 Comments

5 Jonestown victims buried in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
New rules adopted in hopes of spurring home loans

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

California man goes missing during road trip

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8, 2 Comments

 
2nd guilty plea in California tainted beef case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee dies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Pakistani Nobel laureate honored in Philadelphia

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Cadaver dog searches in suspected serial killings

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Schools scoured in search for ambush suspect

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

AP-GfK Poll: Most expect GOP victory in November

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Freed Vietnamese dissident travels to US: official

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

North Korea frees US man; 2 more still detained

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
US expands Ebola checks; Rwanda to check Americans

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

WHO: Ebola vaccine trials in W. Africa in January

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Brown meets with health care experts about Ebola

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

.

Opinion

Day, Blankenchip good for respective cities

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 6 Comments

 
‘Misleading’ mailer sent to residents

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 10 Comments

Expect voter participation to drop

By Dan Walters | From Page: A11, 12 Comments

 
Editorial Cartoons: Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
Spering kept youth league going

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 14 Comments

.

Living

Today in History: Oct. 22, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Oct. 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Oct. 22, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B6

 
Is it OK for a business to use its contacts to raise money for a charity?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B6

Hummus and chocolate together? Deliciously so!

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Easy slow cooker chili that lives up to the hype

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Roasted beets can brighten up any holiday table

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A5

 
Argentina demands ‘Top Gear’ apology from BBC

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

‘S.H.I.E.L.D’ fans push for Coulson/May romance

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
From Kors to DVF, fashion mourns de la Renta

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7 | Gallery

.

Sports

Bruins hold off Sharks to win 5-3

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Local report: Vikings earn 3-0 SCAC volleyball win over Wolves

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

SJS releases season’s first wins list

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Bumgarner, Giants stop Royals 7-1 in Series opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

49ers lose center Daniel Kilgore, needs surgery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Raiders plagued by 3rd-down defensive woes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

For a young Mexican golf star, seeing helps him believe

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Shaw shoulders blame for Stanford’s slide

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Newman dodges penalty for Talladega inspection

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Logano: No worries about retaliation from Patrick

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Cowboys release Michael Sam from practice squad

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Fighters suing Mayweather over Vegas cable TV bout

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

WS Game 2 starters Ventura, Peavy study in contrasts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Hats off! Royals get old-timey with tip o’ the hat

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

KC, San Fran mayors announce World Series wager

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3, 4 Comments

 
Ezeli returns as Warriors beat Clippers 125-107

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Buster’s back: Posey tries to add 3rd Series ring

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
AP sources: Rice’s appeal hearing set for Nov. 5-6

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Kings GM: NHL should educate after Voynov’s arrest

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Broncos are still No. 1 in AP Pro32 rankings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9 | Gallery

‘Blade Runner’ Pistorius gets 5 years in prison

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12 | Gallery

 
.

Business

Google’s streaming music service adds mood to mix

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
5 problems McDonald’s is facing in the US

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

New efforts to ban tobacco farm child labor

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
Total CEO killed in Moscow runway crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

China economy grows at slowest pace in 5 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
.

Obituaries

Rufina Ferrer Levengood

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6