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

(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."

A photo from Warner Bros. Pictures' musical "Jersey Boys," a Warner Bros. Pictures release.   (AP Photo/Courtesy Warner Bros., Keith Bernstein)
This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Vinvent Piazza, Erich Bergen, John Lloyd Young and Michael Lomenda in a scene from "Jersey Boys."   (AP Photo/Warner Bros. Pictures, Keith Bernstein)
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A trailer for "Jersey Boys."   (YouTube)

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