Review Roundup: First Reviews for Ashton Kutcher's jOBS Film
Red Touch Media hosted the exclusive jOBS film premiere after party on closing night of the Sundance Film Festival 2013 in Park City, UT on January 25 and now the first reviews are out.
Starring Ashton Kutcher as Apple Inc. luminary Steve Jobs, "jOBS" details the major moments and defining characters that influenced him on a daily basis from 1971 through 2000.
Justin Lowe, The Hollywood Reporter: 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.
Germain Lussier, SlashFilm.com: Ashton Kutcher plays the title role and does a good job at making you forget there's a big star under the beard and glasses. It's the script by Matt Whiteley, however, where the cracks begin to show. Jobs [the new official spelling of the title] is so hell-bent on cramming all these seminal moments into one film, it never builds much context around them. We never feel like they mean anything or understand the "why" about the big moments. The film loves to tell us things, but never quite explains any in a satisfactory way.
Vince Horiuchi, Salt Lake Tribune: Kutcher, himself a well-known Silicon Valley impresario in social networks, does competent work of replicating Jobs' moves, from his walk to his wiry, toothless grin. In fact, from the neck up, Kutcher bears a remarkable resemblance to the Apple founder throughout Jobs' career (though Kutcher is much too tall). But what Kutcher can't seem to nail is that spark of creativity and foresight that elevated Jobs to greatness as an entrepreneur.
Eric Kohn, IndieWire.com: From there, 'jOBS' relates the three decades leading up to that triumphant moment, revealing the ups and downs of Jobs' career trajectory with a less rosy perspective. The tone, however, remains oddly consistent: Jobs may barrel forward at the expense of nearly everyone around him, but even while portraying Jobs' ruthless streak, director Joshua Michael Stern maintains a worshipful perspective of his famous subject. The movie is constantly at war with attempts to provide an honest portrayal, almost as if its subject were reaching beyond the grave to steer any negativity back in the direction of a hagiography.
Casey Newton: CNET: The eagerly awaited biopic "jOBS" opens in 2001, when Apple's iconic co-founder arrives at Town Hall on Apple's Cupertino, Calif., campus with good news. A secret team, Steve Jobs tells his employees, has built a product that will revolutionize the way everyone listens to music. Before he can even show them the iPod, the employees have sprung to their feet, wild-eyed and ecstatic, and their thunderous applause is eventually drowned out only by strings swelling in the background. It's a scene that sets the tone for all that is to follow: for most of the film's two hours, "jOBS" rarely stops clapping for its subject.
Ross Miller, The Verge: The film doesn't shy away from Jobs's unflattering traits - including his resentment towards longtime girlfriend and his rejection of their daughter, Lisa. (The film later shows a brief scene where Jobs is cheerfully trying to wake Lisa up, one of the many quieter scenes that exposes the larger canon.) Jobs was notoriously prideful and arrogant, and that characterization is made abundantly clear.
Matthew Panzario, TheNextWeb: And much of the good stuff about jOBS, of which there is plenty, stems from the great work put in by the leads. Josh Gad, though he may have been working from an impressionist's idea of what Steve Wozniak was all about, translates with heart and warmth. Woz is not portrayed as a bumbling, clueless geek, but rather a very smart and mischievous man who knew exactly what he wanted from his partnership with Jobs, and exactly when he needed to end that partnership.
Katey Rich, CinemaBlend.com: After 10 days of watching Sundance films that wholly reject traditional Hollywood formulas, it's exhausting to see the work Joshua Michael Stern does here, leaning heavily on an overbearing score and soft lighting and scenes that lay out the film's themes as broadly as a corporate presentation. The Steve Jobs of this movie, who's constantly berating his employees to come up with something better than the status quo, would have hated the pat sentiments and dull direction of jOBS. Apple urged people to think different. jOBS does anything but.