*/**** Image A- Sound A Extras C+
starring John Lloyd Young, Erich Bergen, Michael Lomenda, Christopher Walken
screenplay by Marshall Brickman & Rick Elice
directed by Clint Eastwood
by Angelo Muredda Clint Eastwood has never been the most self-referential filmmaker, preferring shopworn competence to flashy displays of idiosyncrasy. But it's hard to imagine he's not at least slightly gaming his audience throughout Jersey Boys, an otherwise limp tour through the Four Seasons' early discography. What else are we to make of the gag where baby-faced songwriter Bob Gaudio (Chris Klein dead ringer Erich Bergen) catches an image of his director's grizzled mug in "Rawhide" on a hotel TV? While that feels like a pretty straightforward joke on Eastwood's uncanny endurance all the way from "Sherry" (1962) to Jersey Boys the Broadway musical (2005), it's a bit harder to read an equally surreal moment like the dispute between producer and sometime lyricist Bob Crewe (Mike Doyle) and wise-guy guitarist Tommy DeVito (Vincent Piazza) over the band's sound. "I'm hearing it in sky blue," Crewe whines in the middle of a recording session, "and you're giving me brown." On the one hand, it's not like Eastwood to take the piss out of his own work, but on the other, what better analogy for his adaptation process can there be than the conversion of a sky-blue all-American songbook to a shit-brown sung résumé, rendered all in blacks and greys save for the odd splash of salmon and the occasional scrap of tweed?