On Friday, the Ashton Kutcher-led Steve Jobs biopic jOBS had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. The film, which is directed by Joshua Michael Stern and co-stars Josh Gad as Steve Wozniak, will open to the public on April 19th.
Here’s a look at some of the early reviews, which are mixed.
CNET calls the film “saccharine” and says that viewers will spend two hours “watching cardboard cutouts lose arguments to Ashton Kutcher”:
My primary disappointment was in how shallow the film felt, given the extensive historical record. In the early days Jobs’ co-workers had to wrestle with a man who smelled bad, who cried often, who yelled constantly, who missed deadlines, who overspent his budget by millions. He did it in service of products we love and use daily, and yet his obsessions took a toll on those around him. He also inspired others to do the best work of their lives, pushing themselves further than they ever imagined they could go. There is great drama to be found in all that, but it is not to be found in the saccharine “jOBS.”
The Guardian gives the film two out of a possible five stars, calling Ashton Kutcher’s portrayal of Steve Jobs as a “surprisingly effective turn.” Still, The Guardian laments that it’s everything else that falls short:
The results, then, are mixed. This is far from the bomb some would have envisaged, but neither is it the character illumination one would wish for. Jobs appears so consumed by his work here that little else mattered in his life. That may be true, but we’re left none the wiser as to what made the man tick, beyond what we already know. Apple will no doubt feel satisfied, even relieved. Those wanting a sharper, more incisive view will have to wait for Sorkin.
The Hollywood Reporter says that the film is “a biopic that’s perhaps too respectful of the tech icon’s innovations still remains frequently engaging.”
Playing somewhat like a two-hour commercial covering the first 20 tumultuous years of Apple’s development, Joshua Michael Stern’s biopic of Steve Jobs is a passably entertaining account of the career of one of the 20th century’s great innovators that doesn’t break any stylistic ground, hewing closely to public perception of the tech giant.
Writing for Gizmodo, reader Seth Kinkaid gives a fan’s review. He says that despite some clear inaccuracies and exaggerations, “it was the experience [he] wanted.”
I wasn’t sure exactly what I would get, but it turned out to be surprisingly nice. It was… satisfying. It also proved that I could enjoy Ashton Kutcher’s acting as Silicon Valley’s most prized CEO. Although his performance wasn’t perfect, it felt right. The rest of the movie was just as good.
The Next Web’s Matthew Panzarino calls the film “entertaining, if impressionistic,” but adds that “this isn’t going to be the canonical Steve Jobs biography movie.”
[O]verall, jOBS works. The lead actors are likable and appear to have put serious effort into getting the spirit of the characters right. The film looks (mostly) good aside from some of what could likely be ascribed to budgetary constraints. And though the director is a tad indulgent here and there, it doesn’t take away from the overall feeling of ‘decent’ that I came away with.
Film School Rejects gives it an upside…
An often-solid performance by Kutcher; a very solid series of supporting performances (particularly by Gad); surprisingly well-paced and quite entertaining.
..and a downside:
Relies on basic and unimaginative filmmaking tricks, particularly a score calibrated to make audiences think “something triumphant and bold is happening!” and long-winded montage sequences; “tells” rather than “shows” large swathes of character development and exposition; leaves many unanswered questions (you know, like, why computers?).
Check here for more coverage of jOBS.