Jersey Boys Falls Flat
Film doesn't live up to the Broadway musical: critics
By Arden Dier, Newser Staff
Posted Jun 20, 2014 2:27 PM CDT
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(Newser) – What do you get when you mix Clint Eastwood and a Tony Award-winning musical? That would be Jersey Boys, the film version of the Broadway show starring John Lloyd Young as Frankie Valli and Christopher Walken as a mobster. So will you be singing along or dozing in your seat? Critics aren't wildly impressed, with the movie scoring a 57% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 54 on Metacritic.

  • "As deliberately, consciously old-fashioned as it sometimes is, Clint Eastwood's Jersey Boys is also often fresh, with a self-aware sense of fun," writes Stephen Whitty at the Star-Ledger. While there are "one or two off notes," he adds that Broadway star Young "does another fine job making Valli warmly, audibly real."
  • Seen the Broadway version? You'll find that the film "adds dialogue and subtracts music," writes Mark Jenkins at NPR. It may be "undercooked," with "little sense of context, either social or musical," but Jersey Boys is also "engagingly lively, if not always graceful, and often surprisingly comic," Jenkins notes.
  • At the Globe and Mail, Geoff Pevere calls it a "flat-as-a-platter adaptation." Granted, it's not all bad. "The movie perks up somewhat during the musical numbers" and the cast is "pitch perfect." But "trust me, you've watched condominium lobby channels that are more exciting than this." Oh, and the hair pieces "look like freshly fallen squirrel pelts."
  • So is Eastwood entirely to blame? Well, according to Joe Williams at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "the worst thing about this multifaceted failure is the Oscar winner behind the camera." Taking a stab at Eastwood's empty chair gag, he notes, "Where there ought to be a director, there's nothing but an empty chair." If you were planning on seeing Jersey Boys, "Fuhgeddaboudit."

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Dr Geo Douglas
Jun 21, 2014 8:45 AM CDT
Over half the critics recomment it and your headlines says, "Falls Flat". Wow, Newser, sounds like you have a deathwish for Eastwood.
Jun 21, 2014 5:44 AM CDT
Hollywood and the Broadway musical is like those stories you hear about mothers who make their children sick to get attention for themselves. The film version of Chicago is one of the few Broadway musicals filmed that make an equally stunning showing as the original stage production. You have to ask about Eastwood's knowledge of the musical genre, or the people on the East Coast in the 1950s. It seemed like a huge mismatch from the start.
Jun 21, 2014 2:58 AM CDT
I had the same reaction as the critic who said the movie was more story-driven than music driven. The stage production is a hard act to follow. It was just so good that the movie left me wanting. I found it very slow-moving for the first 45 minutes or so, so by the time the energy started to kick in I was already a bit bored. And then the energy didn't stick around for all that long when it did appear. The stage musical was musically engaging from start to finish. It was great. The movie, just okay.