Rousing 50s nostalgia movie

Jersey Boys Warner Bros. Rating: 14A 134 minutes

A film version of the popular stage show, Jersey Boys is about the rags to riches story of The Four Seasons and their lead singer, Frankie Valli. The four boys from New Jersey barely avoid a life of minor crime and instead find fame as pop singers who are now 50s icons.

John Lloyd Young, who won a Tony for his success playing this role on Broadway, is wonderful as Valli. Incidentally, the real Valli is an advisor on the film. Erich Bergen plays songwriter Jim Gaudi. Michael Lomenda (who was born in Stettler, Alberta) and Vincent Piazza round out the foursome. Christopher Walken is the only familiar film face as a mobster friendly to Valli.

What makes this movie work is the music. The ensemble performs most of group’s hits, like Sherry and Big Girls Don’t Cry. If anything, their renditions are smoother and fuller than the originals, which are available for all to see on YouTube.

Produced and directed by the continues-to-amaze 84-year-old Clint Eastwood, the film is a shade too long with one or two unnecessary side plots. Also, the use of characters talking direct to the camera is overdone, although it makes for interesting editing. But the 50s atmosphere is a pleasure to see. Also, this reviewer can’t remember ever being in a theatre with so many aging baby-boomers in the audience, most of whom left smiling and grinning when the movie ended, as the cast sang and danced behind the credits.

Rating: four deer out of five

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Alf Cryderman is a Red Deer freelance writer and old movie buff.