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Watched: 19 November

With the benefit of hindsight, Clint Eastwood was probably the wrong man to make an adaptation of the popular jukebox musical about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. The early lives of the group’s members did apparently contain some misadventure, links to New Jersey mobsters and the like, and Clint seems far more interested in all of that than he does in their music, keeping the GoodFellas lite shtick going for a full two hours and repeatedly bringing back Christopher Walken’s rather stereotypical and superfluous Mr Big. There’s comparatively little of the sense of joy that you might expect from a story about a pop band’s sudden rise to the top, except with regard to some scenes in which key TV appearances are recreated, and – finally! – during the film’s only truly joyous musical moment, an all-singing all-dancing studio-shot medley that’s shoe-horned in at the very end. It’s as if the director has no interest in the sheer thrill of pop music, which – given the subject matter – just seems a little bit strange to me. Also, in trying to focus on all of the band members equally, Eastwood gives some of his actors opportunities to shine via direct-to-camera conspiratorial chats or voiceover narration; sadly, only Vincent Piazza takes his chance – next to his Tommy DeVito the other characters are as dull as dishwater… even Valli himself. And the Joe Pesci gag is the worst. (**)


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