Friday, June 20, 2014
Let me begin by saying I haven't seen the Broadway show of which this musical biopic about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons is based. So I won't be able to advise if it's better or worse, or if you should still see it even if you've already seen the show. (Though a few other critics I polled who had seen the show seemed to think the film was inferior.) I can only review it the same as I review every other film I go into knowing absolutely nothing about. And doing so, I can tell you that the strength of the film comes from the writing, the music, and the biographical context. As someone who knew very little about this group, I found their rags to riches story of interest. The cast is adequate, but not exceptional, with a fun supporting role by Christopher Walken. But the weakest aspect, as is the case with every film directed by Clint Eastwood, is the direction by Clint Eastwood. He is simply one of the most overrated directors (overrated for directing such films as 'Mystic River', 'Million Dollar Baby', and 'Gran Torino') and has a talent for turning films that could be great into movies that are only ok. At least that's my opinion. And quite frankly, I think under a more appropriate director (particularly for a musical) this could have been the next great musical. Instead it's just ok. 'That Thing You Do' is far superior.
Who is this movie for? Fans of musicals, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons should be adequately entertained, but not blown away.