Critical Mass: ‘Jersey Boys’ - The Buffalo News

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Critical Mass: ‘Jersey Boys’

“Jersey Boys,” directed by Clint Eastwood, is based on the play about the rise of The Four Seasons. News Contributing Reviewer Geoff Kelly said of the movie: “There are plenty of entertaining moments in the film, but it’s often a long walk from one to the next. The film bogs down in melodrama between the musical numbers – which are lovely to hear – and the expert comic relief offered by Christopher Walken.”

Here is what some other critics had to say:

Manohla Dargis, New York Times: “ ‘Jersey Boys’ is a strange movie, and it’s a Clint Eastwood enterprise, both reasons to see it. For those with a love of doo-wop, it also provides a toe-tapping, ear-worming stroll down rock ’n’ roll memory lane that dovetails with that deeply cherished American song and dance about personal triumph over adversity through hard work, tough times and self-sacrifice. It’s a redemption narrative that’s got a good beat, and you can dance to it.”

Steve Persall, Tampa Bay Times: “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. He only films musical numbers as television and nightclub performances, and audiences as the polite nodders and clappers they probably were in the ’50s and ’60s, when a little choreography might go a long way. Or maybe not, judging by an end credits cast dance, filmed with the verve of a Sun City Center flash mob. Jersey Boys is one of the most uninspired movie musicals since Eastwood sang-talked to the trees in ‘Paint Your Wagon.’ When Valli’s great songs arrive – ‘Sherry,’ ‘Walk Like a Man,’ a chronologically misplaced ‘My Eyes Adored You’ – Young’s mimicry and our memories lift some of that faded Polaroid pall from a creaky movie.”

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: “About midway through ‘Jersey Boys,’ a feeling settles in that this story might be bigger than it seems, that this saga of a pop music group is also an important American story, on a scale with previous big American stories directed by Clint Eastwood. … This sense of scale gradually fades. ‘Jersey Boys’ contracts into what it probably always had to be, just a likable and not-overly romanticized portrait of the Four Seasons, how they started and where they ended up. But the music maintains an exaggerated appeal throughout. Even if you have never particularly liked these songs, you will like them here; and it won’t just be a matter of Stockholm Syndrome. There’s something about witnessing the birth of a sound – specifically “Sherry,” their breakthrough – that makes that sound more beautiful.

Roger Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service: “Whatever charms turned the musical ‘Jersey Boys’ into a Tony-winning Broadway hit are sorely missed in Clint Eastwood’s tone-deaf corpse of a movie. Late to the game, blandly cast and scripted with every Italian-American cliche, it is Eastwood’s worst film as a director. And it does Franki Valli and the Four Seasons no great favors either, overselling their cultural significance, rendering their story in broad, tried and trite strikes.”

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