JERSEY BOYS | MOVIE REVIEW

I have to be honest, have never seen the and the entire thing, the , the movie, even the music, just does nothing for me. I love musicals but for some reason this is just not for me. So I hit up the Kernels to see who was up and Kernel Kate beat them all back. She had just been to see the stage  in London (hoity toity) and was the perfect person to compare and enjoy this film. She trotted off in her touch of 60s gear to the Australian Premiere to walk the red carpet and lets you know her thoughts below. JERSEY BOYS is being released by Roadshow Films this Thursday 3rd July in most commercial cinemas. It is rated M and runs for 134mins. Enjoy Kate’s review…all the best…JK.

 

JERSEY BOYS MOVIE POSTER IMAGE
JERSEY BOYS | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | MOVIE POSTER

 

REVIEW BY  

In the grand tradition of CHICAGO, HAIRSPRAY, CABARET, PHANTOM OF THE OPERA and countless others comes the latest film to be adapted from a successful Broadway Musical, JERSEY BOYS. Directed by none other than the legendary , JERSEY BOYS tells the story of 60s iconic pop group The Four Season, from their early days plagued by slow starts and stints in jail, through to the height of their success and then beyond the break up of the group and into Frankie Valli’s solo career.

Just warning you now, it’s impossible for me to talk about this film without comparing it to the stage show. I happened to catch a West End production of the musical about two months ago in London (#holidaybrag) and enjoyed it immensely, as have thousands of audience members world-wide since it’s debut on Broadway in 2005. Marshall Brickman and Rick Ellis, who were the book writers for the musical, are credited as screenwriters for the movie and many of the original Broadway cast feature in the film, including John Lloyd Young as Frankie Valli, so you can imagine the film adaptation was going to stay true to the stage show. This alone intrigued me. One of the major devices used the stage show was that each quarter of the show was narrated by one member of the group; they took it in turns to speak directly to the audience. It worked in the musical, but would that work in a film, or would it look weird? Was JERSEY BOYS going to be a carbon copy of the stage show slapped onto celluloid (figuratively of course. Isn’t everything digital now?) or were they going to mix it up a bit? Whatever they chose to do, I just hoped they didn’t f*#k it up.

And the good news is, the film could’ve been worse.

 

JERSEY BOYS MOVIE IMAGE
JERSEY BOYS | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | FRANKIE VALLI AND THE 4 SEASONS PERFORM

 

In fact, JERSEY BOYS started off great. The talking to camera pieces didn’t feel jarring and the filmmakers were able to add some great visual gags upfront. It was sweet to see the boys starting out in Jersey and you grew to like them quickly. The cast do an impressive job when you consider the Four Seasons had to play their characters from teenagers to grown men. Renee Marino also deserves a special mention – she stood out to me as Mary, Frankie Valli’s sassy first wife.  They even had join the cast as the local mob boss and a fan of Valli’s voice. I mean, come on – who doesn’t love randomly turning up in movies?

The Art Direction is great. The costumes are great. The music is, of course, wonderful. It’s also interesting to see a musical that is relatively masculine. The focus is not on some love story. JERSEY BOYS is about the music and the complicated friendships between these four guys.

 

JERSEY BOYS MOVIE IMAGE
JERSEY BOYS | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | FRANKIE VALLI AND THE 4 SEASONS PERFORM

 

Unfortunately the energy drops in the middle towards the end of the film, which was weird considering, as far as I can remember, it followed the same story structure as the stage show. Looking back, I think a big reason for this is that the narration to the audience stops for a while in the last quarter of the film. The final quarter of the stage show is Frankie Valli’s turn to talk to the audience but in the film they chose to play out his monologues as dialogues with other characters. I’m not sure why they’d chose to have the narration in the beginning and not in the middle there, but this was around the time the film lost the cohesion and strength of story that was so prominent in the stage show.

They also cut out some of the songs, which is a big shame. I remember being absolutely gobsmacked during the stage show at how many songs I recognised. It was amazing to think they were all by the same group, which is a feeling I fear young audiences of JERSEY BOYS who haven’t seen the stage show may miss out on. The big songs are there, though, and they made one woman at the premiere start to sing along. I suspect she’d knocked back one too many free glasses of champagne on the way in but nevertheless, that kind of enthusiasm speaks for itself.

I did prefer the stage show but this isn’t a bad movie.  It’s a good one to take a family member to and it’s a safe date movie as well. An interesting story with plenty of humour that’ll have you humming the horn section of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” as you leave the cinema.

 

3 Pops