Review / ‘Jersey Boys’ (M)  *** and a half

Still from Clint Eastwood's Jersey BoysTHE reported cost for producer/director Clint Eastwood to convert the Broadway musical telling the story of the ‘50s-’60s pop quartet The Four Seasons into a 134-minute film, was $US40 million.

By and large it’s money well spent, much of it on affectionate and generally accurate reconstruction of period and place. Say what you may about Detroit’s gas-guzzling ill-handling monsters bedecked with automotive bling. The film’s images of them deliver nostalgic impacts coupled with engine rumbles to delight the ear.

Dress fashions for both sexes, women’s make-up styles and dance steps accurately reflect the period.

Musically it did little for me, but there’s no denying the popular impact of the songs on American middle-class audiences yearning for a new sound and message. Many of the group’s hits depended on Frankie Valli’s falsetto principal voice backed-up by the deeper voices of Tommy, Nick and Bob who joined the original trio and gave it words and music for most of its subsequent hits. The group collapsed when Frankie and Bob went independent and new musical styles arrived.

Eastwood’s direction provides flexibilities of location and time giving the story, adapted by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice from their Broadway version, with Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio as consultants reinforcing authenticity. The dramatic structure is credible. The moments of tension with drugs, mob involvement and marital crises don’t involve music. The bottom line was never far from the money.

At all cinemas

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