Jersey Boys Parent Guide
A little like viewing a well-choreographed train wreck punctuated with fun music, the captivating story presents a bundle of mixed messages for parents to consider.
Parent Movie Review
Clint Eastwood once again shows off his remarkable directing abilities in Jersey Boys, a cinematic remake of the popular Broadway show of the same name. And who are these young men from New Jersey? After many re-brandings and pseudonyms they are best known as Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, the popular music group that even gave the Beatles a run for the top of the charts during the early 1960s.
Frankie Valli (John Lloyd Young) began performing in bars in his neighborhood when he was “discovered” by Gyp DeCarlo (Christopher Walken), a local Mob boss who took a liking to the falsetto singer. DeCarlo also kept Tommy DeVito (Vincent Piazza) by his side, another young musician who helped the “boss” pull off local heists. After DeCarlo charged DeVito with watching over the promising youth, DeVito involved the naive Valli in his band, as well as the robbery trade.
Not sure which option will pay the best, DeVito juggles both gifs and crime. The addition of Nick Massi (Michael Lomenda) and his trademarked bass voice to the group gives it a bit of a boost. But it isn’t until they meet songwriter Bob Gaudio (Erich Bergen), a complete stranger who has just struck gold with his hit single Short, Shorts, that it looks like the music side of the equation might win out. Hoping they have found a good thing, Valli agrees to share a quarter of the band’s ownership with Gaudio. It’s a deal that ruffles DeVito’s hustler instincts.
With Gaudio penning the tunes the boys quickly start cranking out hits like Sherry, Big Girls Don’t Cry and Walk Like a Man. Yet the increased cash and recognition only helps to create more friction between DeVito, who is acting as de facto business manager, and Valli. Succumbing to the temptations of success and the ease of which he can bed women, the now married DeVito is as liberal with his morals as he is with the group’s bank account. Meanwhile the more prudent Valli, along with Gaudio, increases his tight hold on the creative reins. Not surprisingly the imperfect arrangement erupts in a climatic revelation that forever fractures the band.
A little like viewing a well-choreographed train wreck, punctuated with fun music, the captivating story presents a bundle of mixed messages for parents to consider. Organized crime is seen as a common element in the community and doing time in the local penitentiary is akin to an after school detention with your buddies—only six months longer. DeVito’s promiscuous behavior is frequently referenced and his desire to see Gaudio lose his virginity motivates him to send the young man a “Christmas present” in the form of a woman who ensures the quiet songwriter is no longer pure. (The scene shows little sexual activity.) Amidst all of this expect to hear over 30 sexual expletives (the main reason for the movie’s R-rating in the U.S.) and a solid collection of other top hits of profanity. A point-blank shooting to the head is depicted. And alcohol use and smoking are pervasive.
On a more positive note, Valli is portrayed as a man who is doing his best to balance life on the road and his family at home, turning down offers to attend parties in favor of spending what little time he can with his wife (Renée Marino) and daughters. Sadly his spouse’s dependence on alcohol combined with his frequent absences will eventually lead to a bitter breakup and future heartbreaks with his children.
Artistically solid, Jersey Boys boast set design that spans multiple time periods and strong actors that perform most of the music live. The compelling movie also illustrates many of the potholes on the road to fame—along with showcasing Eastwood’s directing prowess.Directed by Clint Eastwood. Starring John Lloyd Young, Vincent Piazza, Christopher Walken. Running time: 134 minutes. Theatrical release June 20, 2014. Updated July 17, 2017
Rating & Content Info
Why is Jersey Boys rated R? Jersey Boys is rated R by the MPAA for language throughout.
Violence: A character appears to be shot in the head, blood effects are shown. Characters watch a scene from a movie that shows a woman slapped by a man. Men begin pushing and hit each other. Organized crime is depicted as a normal element within a community and one mob “boss” is portrayed as protective. Verbal threats are heard, including the possibility of violence if a loan is not repaid. A gang of young men (including at least one teen) is shown robbing a store. An out-of-control car crashes into a shop window. Perpetrators flee a crime scene but are later caught and appear in court. A character dies from a drug overdose.
Sexual Content: A character boasts of his many female sexual partners. Characters comment on a young man’s sexual inexperience and later hire a woman to sleep with the virgin male—only a brief moment of embracing is shown. It is implied other unmarried couples have sex, (one is later shown getting married). There are other brief moments of embracing and kissing. It is implied a character is a homosexual. Sexual innuendo and crude slang are heard. Girls are seen in short shorts.
Language: Over 30 sexual expletives are used in a non-sexual context, sometimes during arguments with aggressive intent. Other profanities are also heard including scatological terms, a crude term for sex and slang terms for male anatomy. Racial slurs and terms of deity are included in the script.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Smoking is seen throughout this period movie, along with frequent alcohol use. A female character is seen inebriated and it is implied she has an alcohol problem. A nun drinks secretly.
Page last updated July 17, 2017
More parents' guide for Jersey Boys after the break...
Jersey Boys Parents' Guide
Frankie Valli spoke with Parade magazine. In the interview he talks about how he met mobster Gyp DeCarlo and his views on other aspects of the movie Jersey Boys.
The most recent home video release of Jersey Boys movie is November 11, 2014. Here are some details…Home Video Notes: Jersey Boys
Release Date: 11 November 2014
Jersey Boys releases to home video (Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy) with the following extras:
- From Broadway To The Big Screen Featurette
- Too Good To Be True Featurette
- "Oh, What A Night" To Remember