A younger singer named Frankie and his friends rise above their criminal backgrounds to become The Four Seasons, one of the most successful pop groups of the era. Frankie Castelluccio is an Italian-American kid working at a barber shop with dreams of becoming the next Frank Sinatra. His friend, Tommy DeVito, has mob ties, and he gets Frankie involved with the local gangster Gyp DeCarlo. They start doing some work for DeCarlo, and Frankie is invited to sing onstage with DeVito's band-- yet when a jewel heist goes wrong and Tommy lands in jail, Frankie is encouraged to stay from DeCarlo and his gang (he doesn't.) Tommy eventually gets out, and Frankie joins their group officially. Frankie meets a girl one night, and, despite Tommy's urges to bed her and forget her, he ends up marrying her shortly thereafter. Meanwhile, Tommy looks to make their trio a quartet, and he learns from his young friend Joey (later revealed to be actor Joe Pesci) about a singer/songwriter Bob Gaudio. After they all sing together, Frankie is sold, but Tommy is skeptical, as Gaudio seems to be far smarter and more clean-cut than Tommy is used to. Tommy reluctantly agrees to let him into the group. When Frankie's old friend Bob Crewe signs their group, called The Four Lovers, to sing backup vocals for other acts, Crewe urges Frankie to find a better name and a unique sound. When Gaudio finally comes up with the song "Sherry," they change their name to The Four Seasons (after the local bowling alley), and they find three hits in a row, with "Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry," and "Walk Like a Man." However, they discover before an appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show that Tommy has accrued massive amounts of debt from a loan shark. At this point, Nick becomes our new narrator (Tommy had narrated the beginning of the film) and he presents us with flashbacks to Tommy's poor behavior: he stiffs a hotel for a bill, landing the band in jail; he uses all of Nick's towels when they share hotel rooms, and when the group wants to give more money oversight to Gaudio, Tommy pouts until he gets his way. After the Ed Sullivan Show, Frankie calls up DeCarlo, and they all meet up-- it's revealed that Tommy also borrowed half a million dollars or more from their taxes. Frankie promises to pay off the debt, but Tommy has to leave the band and stay in Vegas, where the loan sharks can keep an eye on him until the debt is paid. Nick also quits the band, tired of being the odd man out in the talent discussions. Frankie takes to the road alone, doing as many gigs as possible, until he finally pays off Tommy's debt. During this stretch, his daughter Francine dies of a drug overdose, but shortly thereafter, he finally gets another big hit song with "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You." The film ends at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, when the Four Seasons are all inducted and they sing together again for the first time in years. Each character addresses the camera, telling us what they're doing now, and we close with one more flashback to them, as young men, singing "Who Loves You."
Best part of story, including ending:
It's a strong play, but under the direction of Clint Eastwood, Jersey Boys is not a compelling film. The editing is stiff, the colors are dull, and it fails to capture the energy of a Broadway show.
Best scene in story:
When Bob Gaudio first sings with them, and they all gather around and pick up the song as Gaudio sings, it comes close to capturing something magical.
Opinion about the main character:
Frankie is a great singer, but he comes off as a bit of a cypher in the film. His family problems aren't really fleshed out, and thus we struggle to sympathize.