Despite great music, ‘Jersey Boys’ bogs down

The Four Seasons – Bob Gaudio (Erich Bergen, left), Tommy DeVito (Vincent Piazza), Frankie Valli (John Lloyd Young) and Nick Massi (Michael Lomenda) – perform on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in the new movie “Jersey Boys." (AP Photo/Courtesy Warner Bros., Keith Bernstein)

The Four Seasons – Bob Gaudio (Erich Bergen, left), Tommy DeVito (Vincent Piazza), Frankie Valli (John Lloyd Young) and Nick Massi (Michael Lomenda) – perform on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in the new movie “Jersey Boys.” (AP Photo/Courtesy Warner Bros., Keith Bernstein)

By M. Scott Morris

Daily Journal

I can’t help thinking something was lost in bringing the Broadway musical “Jersey Boys” to the big screen.

Having not seen the musical, I can’t be sure. But it’s an award-winning and long-running production, while the movie version loses its way a few times.

It’s the story of the Four Seasons, a group of boys from New Jersey who see singing as a way out of the neighborhood.

Tommy DeVito (Vincent Piazza) is a natural leader who knows how to get things done, even if those things aren’t legal.

He recognizes the raw talent in Frankie Valli (John Lloyd Young), and he’s not alone in that. A local mob boss (Christopher Walken), as well as members of the police force, look after Frankie and remind him to keep up his vocal practice.

The earliest scenes are by far the best, as Frankie and Tommy come together with Nick Massi (Michael Lomenda) and Bob Gaudio (Erich Bergen), the core group that was inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

The music is infectious, and it’s fun to see behind-the-scenes stories about “Sherry,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Walk Like a Man.”

The cast sounds great, and there are times when I would’ve preferred to hear more music rather than get back to the action in the story.

Anyone who’s seen a “Behind the Music” on VH1 knows fame puts stresses on a band, and it also caused the filmmakers problems, as “Jersey Boys” bogs down several times.

In the end, there’s a suggestion of what the stage production was like, when just about everyone in the cast gets together for a choreographed performance of “December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night).” It’s an energetic and entertaining scene and the movie could’ve used more like it.

I give “Jersey Boys” a C plus.

It’s showing at Malcos in Tupelo, Oxford, Corinth and Columbus, as well as Hollywood Premier Cinemas in Starkville.

Look for movie reviews in Scene on Thursdays, and listen each Tuesday morning on Wizard 106.7 between 8:30 and 8:45 a.m.