Clint Eastwood has a no-nonsense approach that has served him well over the course of his career.
He refuses to clutter up a performance with tics and affected mannerisms; his method is more common sense, just being content to live in the moment and express what comes to the fore, in that moment. As a director, he has opened himself up a bit more in intriguing ways, especially in relation to his affinity for music and the use of quiet improvisational moments. It came as a surprise to hear that Eastwood had decided to tackle a big screen adaptation of the Broadway hit Jersey Boys. The broad showstoppers and that big voice of Frankie Valli’s wouldn’t seem to fit in the toned-down snapshot portraits Eastwood prefers, but, on some elemental level, that is exactly what is necessary to translate a stage musical to the medium of film. Plus, there’s a streak of loyalty and determination that drove Valli and Eastwood. Most of the narrative is a retelling of highlights with musical renditions presented in full, a smart decision in this day and age of rapid fire editing and standard movie montages. Eastwood’s plainspoken approach removes the artifice of characters directly addressing the audience or using song snippets to foreshadow movements to come. Without the movie-musical bombast, Jersey Boys settles comfortably into the routine biopic structure, but like any good pop song, it gets in your head. Now in theaters. (R) Grade: B