Metascore
54

Mixed or average reviews - based on 44 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 44
  2. Negative: 4 out of 44
  1. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Jun 18, 2014
    88
    Jersey Boys tells a familiar story, yes — but rarely told this well and with this much heart and soul.
  2. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Jun 22, 2014
    80
    When it comes to any larger questions about what was lost or gained, and whether Frankie Valli’s odyssey was worth it, Eastwood throws up his hands. Who knows? He’s made a thoroughly tolerable and non-insulting summer movie for grown-ups; isn’t that enough?
  3. Reviewed by: Alan Scherstuhl
    Jun 17, 2014
    80
    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.
  4. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Jun 19, 2014
    75
    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.
  5. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Jun 19, 2014
    75
    You're in that world, sucked in by the music and the performances. Appreciate the big things, but while watching, also pay attention to the little grace notes that make up a quality production.
  6. Reviewed by: Christine Dolan
    Jun 19, 2014
    75
    That built-in nostalgia is part of the reason for the success of Jersey Boys onstage and for its appeal as a movie.
  7. Reviewed by: Chris Cabin
    Jun 19, 2014
    75
    However messy this overextended and oddly compelling work feels from moment to moment, the end result evokes the life of working artists without sentimentality or undue grandeur.
  8. Reviewed by: Bob Mondello
    Jun 20, 2014
    70
    This is a special Jersey Boys universe crafted specifically for fans — among whom you can pretty clearly count Clint Eastwood.
  9. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Jun 19, 2014
    70
    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.
  10. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Jun 18, 2014
    70
    Jersey Boys is a good movie, and the performances are first-rate. But Eastwood should have roughed things up a little more.
  11. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Jun 22, 2014
    67
    Once the quartet makes it big, things get predictable really fast. Eastwood seems to forget that audiences made The Jersey Boys a touring sensation because they love the songs, not because they want to see yet another "Behind the Music"-style tale of fame and fortune not being all they're cracked up to be.
  12. Reviewed by: Chris Nashawaty
    Jun 19, 2014
    67
    The biggest problem is that the film, written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, never makes a convincing case for why Valli the man or the singer matters beyond the music in the way that "Ray" and "Walk the Line" did for Ray Charles and Johnny Cash.
  13. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Jun 22, 2014
    63
    The film's notable quality is the music and as soon as one song is finished, we're ready for the next one. Unfortunately, there are often long passages of dialogue and narrative to endure before getting there.
  14. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Jun 19, 2014
    63
    It's the Mob connection that allows Eastwood to add shading and a sharper edge.
  15. Reviewed by: Stephanie Merry
    Jun 19, 2014
    63
    Fans of the play will be pleased. And 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.
  16. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Jun 19, 2014
    63
    Jersey Boys the movie is a different, more sedate animal than "Jersey Boys" the Broadway musical.
  17. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Jun 19, 2014
    60
    Jersey Boys is a strange movie, and it’s a Clint Eastwood enterprise, both reasons to see it.
  18. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Jun 19, 2014
    60
    As the most comfortable performer among this inexperienced cast, Walken brings a crucial maturity. In contrast, Young seems to have been hired primarily for his uncanny falsetto.
  19. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Jun 18, 2014
    60
    Imagine "Goodfellas" without much in the way of stakes, and you’ll get Clint Eastwood’s pleasingly square and forgettable adaptation of the Tony-feted 2006 jukebox musical.
  20. Reviewed by: Ian Freer
    Jun 16, 2014
    60
    Half "GoodFellas," half "Dreamgirls," Jersey Boys is an appealing take on a grit-to-glamour biopic. What it ultimately fails to do, though, is convince.
  21. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Jun 16, 2014
    60
    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.
  22. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Jun 20, 2014
    58
    The sole bright spot is Christopher Walken playing a benevolent Mafia don.
  23. Reviewed by: Ignatiy Vishnevetsky
    Jun 18, 2014
    58
    The unfortunate trade-off of Eastwood’s efficient, real-deal classical direction is his stubborn commitment to the script.
  24. Reviewed by: Charlie Schmidlin
    Jun 22, 2014
    50
    Wall-to-wall fantasyland showbiz, expertly shot and boasting fine performances, but it is in the spirit world between stage and screen where it loses its footing.
  25. 50
    To be fair, some of it is good, very good. Jersey Boys has an easy, likable gait. It’s Eastwood’s most fluid film: He gets the swing of the music without fancy editing.
  26. Reviewed by: Odie Henderson
    Jun 20, 2014
    50
    The singing talent is there, but Eastwood and writers Marshall Brickman and Rick Elise opt for a more realistic depiction of events. They transform Jersey Boys from jukebox musical to movie biopic, exchanging one much-maligned genre for another.
  27. Reviewed by: Richard Roeper
    Jun 19, 2014
    50
    For one of the few times in Eastwood’s career as a director, he seems indecisive about what kind of movie he wanted to make.
  28. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Jun 19, 2014
    50
    What was blandly charming on stage — characters addressing the audience, ultra-broad jokes and showbiz patter — feels contrived, cheesy and cliched onscreen.
  29. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Jun 19, 2014
    50
    Whatever the cause, the movie turns sour when the singers aren't singing. And the first-person accounts don't work at all, even though much of their substance comes from the show.
  30. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Jun 19, 2014
    50
    Eastwood's unvarnished storytelling style, usually his strength as a filmmaker, is terribly out of place here. If ever a movie needed flashbacks, dream sequences, any attempt no matter how cliche to goose the narrative, it's this one.
  31. Reviewed by: Tasha Robinson
    Jun 19, 2014
    50
    Between the high-gloss, desaturated prestige-picture look of the film and the visibly fakey soundstage sets of the Jersey boys’ hometown, Jersey Boys feels plastic and artificial throughout. There’s no sense of authentic urgency or intensity to any of it.
  32. Reviewed by: Louis Black
    Jun 18, 2014
    50
    The film is fun. It could have been produced by Ross Hunter but wasn’t, maybe even directed by Vincente Minnelli, although he probably would have screwed with it a lot more.
  33. Reviewed by: Alonso Duralde
    Jun 16, 2014
    50
    It works in the hits, and it casts singers who make those hits sound virtually identical to the original versions. 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'?”
  34. Reviewed by: Andrew Barker
    Jun 16, 2014
    50
    As handsome as his compositions are, Eastwood’s filmmaking simply doesn’t have the snap or the feel for rhythm that the script’s rapid-fire theatrical patter requires, and the relative dearth of prominent musical performances turns what could have been a dancing-in-the-aisles romp into a bit of a slog.
  35. Reviewed by: Guy Lodge
    Jun 17, 2014
    42
    Eastwood is rarely a careless director, even when his handling on the material is this badly fumbled, but even his typically astute command of period and place feels off here.
  36. Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    Jun 23, 2014
    40
    Sparks like that are scattered through, and yet the sad fact is that Jersey Boys is a mess. Parts of it feel half-finished.
  37. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Jun 19, 2014
    40
    So why is the Jersey Boys film a turgid botch? Eastwood’s résumé hints at a reason. His affinity is for American standards as improvised on piano or guitar by indigenous artists in smoky nightclubs, not for the tightly wound, impeccably pounding songs that Bob Gaudio and Bob Crewe wrote for the Four Seasons.
  38. Reviewed by: Robbie Collin
    Jun 19, 2014
    40
    Rather than embracing the jangling song-and-dance numbers that made the live version box-office catnip, Eastwood sheepishly tidies them into the background, treating the project instead like a standard music-industry biopic.
  39. Reviewed by: Jordan Hoffman
    Jun 18, 2014
    40
    Eastwood, who once upon a time was a flavorful director, is working in movie-of-the-week mode here. Cheesy, direct, bland.
  40. Reviewed by: Daniel Green
    Jun 17, 2014
    40
    A lacklustre, frustratingly inconsistent work of music history sugar-coating.
  41. Reviewed by: Geoff Pevere
    Jun 20, 2014
    38
    It never reaches the soaring, cloud-busting heights of Frankie Valli’s otherworldly falsetto, and it doesn’t even try.
  42. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Jun 19, 2014
    38
    Behind the familiar hits, Jersey Boys is a story about the pressures and rewards of professionalism. Far too little of that has made it into this biopic. It’s just too mediocre to be true.
  43. 38
    Late to the game, blandly cast and scripted with every Italian American cliche in the “How to Make Spaghetti” cookbook, it is Eastwood’s worst film as a director.
  44. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Jun 19, 2014
    25
    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.
User Score
7.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 45 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 20
  2. Negative: 1 out of 20
  1. Jun 25, 2014
    8
    At the end of the movie I clapped along with the audience. I cannot stop singing the music. I saw the musical Jersey Boys on Broadway and I enjoyed it almost as much. This is a movie that I will see more than once. I love the narration. Clint Eastwood did a terrific job, as always. Listen to the audience, not the critics on this one - They must have seen a different movie. Full Review »
  2. Jun 24, 2014
    4
    Usually, I don't compare a book or play to the movie adaptation, but in this case it's necessary. If you're expecting the hit brought to the big screen, you're in for a huge letdown. This dreary tale focuses on the unpleasant reality from the show without any of the life and fun that the music added. It chronicles the personal life behind The Four Seasons, but makes everyone unattractive and unlikable. They pose and argue like mini Sopranos without ever enjoying their success. Director Clint Eastwood has chosen equally harsh light and an ugly pallatte that makes the drama even more dreadful. To heap on the insult, their hits are often relegated to background music and that closing music video is just embarrassing. Full Review »
  3. Jun 21, 2014
    6
    The first 1/3 of the film almost felt like "Goodfellas", and I was really digging the tone (excuse the old saying). And of course all the scenes with the music were really well done and catchy. There were even a handful of clever laughs thrown in.

    The film's biggest problem is maintaining a single tone throughout, especially in the final act. The tempo just hits a wall when it choses to focus more on Frankie than the band, and the enjoyment of the movie suffers because of it.

    The movie is very well-made and 2/3 of it are good. But that other third is slow and borderline boring. Guess we get a little bit of both of Eastwood's directing signatures: when its good its good, but when its slow, oh boy is it slow.
    Full Review »