JERSEY BOYS – Rated R – May contain spoilers

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The Era is the 60’s – and 4 men with lots of talent – yet not a lot of sense – are working their tails off to make a name in music…..get the picture?  Clint Eastwood goes all out this time, bringing one of the most incredible musicals to hit the stage in decades – the real life story of FRANKIE VALLI and the FOUR SEASONS to the BIG SCREEN – with the much anticipated film JERSEY BOYS!

As we meet Tommy DeVito (played by Vincent Piazza), who has grown up in Jersey, and shall we say, has made a name for himself as a petty thief, hitting jail more times that any of us care to recollect.  Although Tommy can’t seem to live on the straight and narrow, his BIG DREAM is to make it in the music business with his band.  He knows this young kid from the neighborhood by the name of Frankie (John Lloyd Young), who happens to have pipes of GOLD,  and Tommy convinces Frankie to come out and sing at a couple of their gigs and the crowds – especially the ladies – absolutely LOVE HIM and his unique voice!

When another friend by the name of Joe Pesci (yes – THE JOE PESCI) contacts Tommy about a singer and song writer he has come across that can take Tommy’s Band to the next level. Tommy is reluctant to listen to Joe, and blows him off.   Frankie really wants to meet this new guy, Bob Gaudio (Erich Bergen), because if he is half as good as Pesci says he is, they can’t let this opportunity slip away.  They grab their other guitarist Nick Massi (Michael Lomenda) to get his take on this new guy too.  Although Tommy  isn’t sold on Bob, Frankie and Nick are, so they agree to try him out on a trial basis, as long as everyone understands, Tommy is running the show!

Bob starts cranking out song after song, but they can’t get any record companies to listen to them, much less make them a record deal.  That is until Frankie and Nick run into an old neighborhood buddy by the name of Bob Crewe (Mike Doyle), who promises to make them STARS…..that is of course, after they pay their dues and sing as back-up singers for all of the recording stars that Crewe is producing for.  When the guys have had their fill of Crewe as his Bulls**t, they threaten to walk……

Will Crewe come through on his word, and start recording the incredible songs that Bob has been writing for months?  Will Frankie’s voice become the NEXT BIG THING as the boys try to brand themselves as THE FOUR SEASONS?  Or will Tommy’s gambling and bad business decisions along with Frankie’s marriage problems threaten to destroy everything they have worked so hard for, for so long?

What can I give this incredible film but an A+:  Okay, you got me; I love nothing more than a FANTASTIC MUSICAL – whether it is on stage or on the Big Screen, and JERSEY BOYS does not disappoint!  Eastwood didn’t miss the mark telling the true life story of Frankie Valli, Tommy DeVIto, Bob Gaudio and Nick Massi.  The actors chosen to portray these roles were spot on too.  I found myself, and you may be right there with me, consciously having to stop from breaking out into song every time a song from the  FOUR SEASONS that I know came on – I only refrained because I promised my friend and fellow critic Jim Batts, who was sitting next to me, that I would control myself!  I must share too, that if you have seen the stage version of JERSEY BOYS, Eastwood keeps it pretty close to the actual stage version – good or bad – that’s the way it is.

And for you movie and television buffs out there who love to know things that can be used at your next school or church TRIVIA NIGHT, let me take this opportunity to share a few things from the film – pay close attention to the accountant in the film, he might be one of the sons from “My Three Sons” that you watched growing up, and the minute I heard Tommy DeVito’s name, I knew that I had heard that name before, maybe in the movie GOODFELLA’s  and sure enough, when I got home and pulled up Joe Pesci’s character in the movie, he played Tommy DeVito in the film, coincidence, I think NOT! Well enough of that stuff, back to the subject at hand…So….. Grab your girlfriends, heck grab your husband or boyfriend too, and schedule a date night this weekend to go see JERSEY BOYS – Everyone is absolutely going to love it – I PROMISE 😉

Kathy Kaiser