Jersey Boys 2014

Critics score:
52 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Christy Lemire, It's glossy and entertaining but also safe and conventional. If my father had lived to age 72, he would have loved this movie. This is your target audience. Read more

Wesley Morris, Grantland: Valli and the Four Seasons' story might well have been true, but as drama, it's thin and occasionally dull. Read more

Lou Lumenick, New York Post: Jersey Boys tells a familiar story, yes -- but rarely told this well and with this much heart and soul. Read more

Rex Reed, New York Observer: Despite all that crummy doo-wop, it's a universal, American "anyone can make it" success story that has uplifting appeal onstage, and in Mr. Eastwood's capable hands, the joy spreads like apple butter. Read more

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: Why so cheerless, bordering on grim? Was Mr. Eastwood, a lover of music and a champion of musicians, so seduced by the bleaker aspects of the back story that he neglected the production's grace notes? Read more

Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: Always likable and often great fun, but it's an uneasy mix of stage and screen. It trips, fairly often, but never falls. Read more

Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine: Why is the Jersey Boys film a turgid botch? Read more

Andrew Barker, Variety: The relative dearth of prominent musical performances turns what could have been a dancing-in-the-aisles romp into a bit of a slog. Read more

Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, AV Club: Eastwood's integrity puts the movie in a double bind; he wholly commits to an underdeveloped drama that was designed only to set up extended musical numbers, and, in the process, makes the songs seem intrusive and padded. Read more

Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic: "Jersey Boys" is a good movie, and the performances are first-rate. Read more

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: A flat-footed Italian-American theme park ride that's as far from rock 'n' roll as Newark is from Times Square. Read more

J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader: This isn't the movie it should have been, but it serves its purpose as a souvenir of the stage show. Read more

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: Full of genial showbiz cliches and mobbed-up sweeties, it's an easy movie to take. Read more

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: [The movie] hauls out just about every showbiz cliche in the catalog. Read more

Nancy Churnin, Dallas Morning News: You can almost smell the meatballs Frankie's mother cooks for dinner. Read more

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post: Aptly if somewhat awkwardly, Jersey Boys finds its most soulful moment in a movie version of a curtain call. Only it's pretty complicated when a movie's most rousing moment comes as the closing credits roll. Read more

Tom Long, Detroit News: "Jersey Boys" hits the high notes with ease, and offers the low ones for contemplation. Read more

Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly: What saves it are those nostalgic, soaring doo-wop numbers ... and Eastwood's measured doses of directorial playfulness, such as when the actors cheekily break the fourth wall and talk directly to the audience, as they did on Broadway. Read more

Jordan Hoffman, Defiantly dull Read more

Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter: A dash of showbiz pizzazz has been lost but some welcome emotional depth has been gained in the big-screen version of the still-thriving theatrical smash Jersey Boys. Read more

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: Eastwood, as always, has simply done things his own way, and the result is a leisurely old-school entertainment with a bit more edge than you may be expecting. Read more

Christine Dolen, Miami Herald: What makes Jersey Boys work is its Rashomon device of letting each member of the group tell part of the story from his point of view. And it's all woven together by those familiar, catchy songs. Read more

Rafer Guzman, Newsday: Clint Eastwood's version of the buoyant Broadway musical doesn't hit the same high notes, but it's a must-see for fans of Valli and the early pop era. Read more

Anthony Lane, New Yorker: Christopher Walken plays a gangster who can fix anything; maybe he should have taken charge of the film. Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger: 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 ... Read more

Mark Jenkins, NPR: Engagingly lively, if not always graceful, and often surprisingly comic. Read more

Bob Mondello, NPR: "Eastwood's got a feel for music (he composed the scores for most of his recent films). But he doesn't have a particular flair for musical staging." Read more

Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News: Young's bland Valli never really grabs us the way he should. But when Piazza smolders and glowers as Tommy, the group's fiery wild card, we can't take our eyes off of him. Read more

Manohla Dargis, New York Times: "Jersey Boys" is a strange movie, and it's a Clint Eastwood enterprise, both reasons to see it. Read more

Michael Sragow, Orange County Register: The film's wooziness wouldn't be disastrous if it swept audiences up in the zest of pop creation. Read more

Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer: Eastwood, directing his 33d film, adds some keen-eyed realism to the showbiz schmaltz. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: Jersey Boys comes to life only toward the end. Read more

Richard Roeper, Richard At times the movie version of "Jersey Boys" captures the electric excitement of the musical, but for every soaring moment, there are 10 minutes of bickering or brooding. Read more

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: Eastwood animates the cliches by playing them for real, but he's still steering the movie to a foregone conclusion. Read more

Andrew O'Hehir, Can simultaneously be enjoyed as a fun summer musical set in a bygone era and a Gatsby-style American tragedy about the impossibility of escaping the past. Read more

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: We come away with a feeling for pop stardom as seen from the inside, the traveling and performing, the dealing with the same people all day and the worrying about the business end. Read more

Dana Stevens, Slate: Curiously moribund ... Read more

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune: Everybody loves a rags-to-riches story. The joyous new musical "Jersey Boys" doubles down on that favorite theme. Read more

Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: The worst thing about this multifaceted failure is the two-time Oscar winner behind the camera. Where there ought to be a director, there's nothing but an empty chair. Read more

Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic: A scattered, haphazard, thoroughly confused film that can't figure out if it's meant to be a winningly cutesy musical or a gritty narrative about life in crime-ridden 1950s New Jersey. Read more

Geoff Pevere, Globe and Mail: Trust me, you've watched condominium lobby channels that are more exciting than this. Read more

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: The film entertainingly recreates an acclaimed stage show that you can now see for the price of a multiplex ticket rather than a Broadway one. Read more

Alonso Duralde, TheWrap: It works in the hits, and it casts singers who make those hits sound virtually identical to the originals. What the movie doesn't do is answer the question, "Why did I just spend 134 minutes watching the Frankie Valli episode of 'Behind the Music'?" Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: The catchy hits by The Four Seasons are indelible, but Jersey Boys, the drab movie based on the Broadway musical about those tunes, is sadly forgettable. Read more

Jocelyn Noveck, Associated Press: Sure. We'll stay, just a little bit longer. Read more

Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice: Eastwood may never show us his boys discovering themselves under that street lamp, but he gives us a clutch of moments worth treasuring - and mostly without overdoing it. Read more

David Edelstein, New York Magazine/Vulture: The film is a funny mix of formulaic and fresh. The numbers are too polished - there's no sense of discovery. But the songs and their harmonies are evergreen. Read more

Stephanie Merry, Washington Post: For those that love the Four Seasons' music but haven't made it to the play, you can put your fear of missing out to rest. This is a much more affordable way to very nearly re-create the experience. Read more