As a director, Clint Eastwood has a bit of a chequered IMDB page, with ever Unforgiven or Million Dollar Baby cancelled out by a Space Cowboys or Hereafter. The three years since his last movie, J. Edgar, is the longest break he's had out of the director's chair, and that time away hasn't really seen him learn any lessons from that horrendously dull movie. It's yet another dramatically over the top period biographical drama, of what may have been a potentially interesting story, complete with dodgy old-man make-up.
n adaptation of the hit stage musical, we're introduced to Frankie Valli (John Lloyd Young) and Tommy DeVito (Vincent Piazza), two young men with some superfluous connections to the mob. When Frankie's unique singing voice is heard by songwriter Bob Gaudio (Erich Bergen), musical alchemy is achieved, and the hits start rolling in. But Tommy has some serious money issues, which gets him and the rest of his band in deep with some loan sharks.
hat right there is pretty much the entire arc of the movie, and it simply isn't interesting enough to warrant a 130 plus minute biopic, and Eastwood even steamrolls over some of the more interesting moments. We're introduced to Frankie's new girlfriend five seconds before he leaves his wife who then both subsequently disappear from the movie, while his daughter gets her own subplot, only to be dropped ten minutes later.
he tone is a little all over the place too, jumping between Goodfellas and Grease, before landing on a gangsterized version of That Thing You Do. With characters taking turns as talking-to-the-camera narrators, it helps that the cast are mostly capable, if not always given a lot to do. Christopher Walken, as the only recognisable face amongst the cast, is great as the mob boss, constantly walking a great line of comedic menace, but he’s not around enough to leave that much of an impression. Piazza is left playing the movie's 'bad guy', but is underwritten to the point that he’s practically in 2D.
ans of the music will have a blast and it's not that the movie is ever boring, as it rollicks along at a fair lick, and Eastwood is always good at telling the story. Where he fails is in not recognising which stories aren't exactly worth telling in the first place.