JERSEY BOYS may not be as magical as the stage version, but it has plenty of magic. Director Clint Eastwood sticks closely to the book of the Broadway musical in this faithful re-telling of singer Valli's rise to the top. And for the most part, the move from stage to screen is, like Valli's iconic voice, as smooth as can be, albeit punctured in parts by time jumps that don't quite make sense (Valli had more than one daughter? Was he really with Lorraine, a journalist he meets on the road, that long?) for an audience unfamiliar with the Broadway version or Valli's story. (But major kudos to Lloyd Young, who starred on Broadway as Valli and is the one truly meant for the role.)
The first act, despite brilliant musical moments, doesn't quite gain momentum. But then come the songs that made the Four Seasons: "Sherry," "Walk Like a Man," "Big Girls Don't Cry," and many more. Suddenly, as one character says, "all there was was the music," and the film shifts. The audience sinks with the group's lows and soars with its highs, all accompanied by a familiar soundtrack that will likely unleash your own memories. And the film carries a resonant message even for those who've never heard of the Four Seasons (who are you?): You win, you lose, you live.