Ashton Kutcher’s long-awaited jOBS, a biopic on the late Steve Jobs, debuted for the first time ever last night at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. And as you can imagine, the screening was chock-full of critics and tech bloggers.
The first reviews of the movie hit the web late last night, and the overall theme seems to be “good, not great.” Both Kutcher and Gad (who plays Woz) received praise for their respective performances, but the film itself didn’t seem to impress.
Here’s a roundup of some of the top jOBS reviews from around the web…
CNET: “While “jOBS” fawns over subject, film falls flat”
“The movie gives it a shot. Kutcher drew skepticism when he was announced as the film’s lead, despite an uncanny resemblance to the man he would be playing. But he throws himself into the role, inhabiting Jobs in his mannerisms and gestures while doing a more than creditable impression of the man’s voice. Kutcher also captures Jobs’ deliberate, slightly hunched-over walk. At moments, as during an enjoyable sequence in which Jobs recruits members for the Macintosh team, Kutcher disappears into the role.”
SlashFilm: “Ashton Kutcher Plays Steve Jobs, But We Don’t Get To Know Steve Jobs”
“Apple fans are going to be very mixed on Jobs. On one hand here’s the story they’ve been dying to see, on screen, and it looks great. But the film feels slight because it tries to do too much. The effort is there and the film is entertaining, but it’s feels like the PC version of the story instead of the Apple.”
TNW: “jOBS is an entertaining, if impressionistic, portrait of Steve Jobs as a young man”
“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.”
CinemaBlend: “Ashton Kutcher Does Well, But The Movie Fails To Think Different”
“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.”
The Hollywood Reporter: “jOBS: Sundance Review”
“Kutcher has an advantage in the role with his passing resemblance to Jobs, but also faithfully re-creates some of his physical mannerisms for additional dimensionality. He manages a fair imitation of Jobs’ speaking style as well, particularly when delivering a number of monologues, usually while haranguing his employees or board of directors. Gad could have profitably been given more to do in the Wozniak role, particularly since the many boardroom scenes may seem repetitive.”
CriticWire: “Ashton Kutcher Does A Solid Steve in ‘jOBS,’ But Is This Tame Biopic a Lost Cause From the Start?”
“As a whole, the movie inevitably suffers from comparison to “The Social Network,” another recent biopic about cutthroat tech innovators that’s superior in every way. The David Fincher-directed movie burrowed inside the essence of competitive young brilliance and triumphantly explored how inspired minds engage in endless competition. “jOBS” renders the same forces through the Apple founder’s ongoing persistence without a modicum of depth. “We gotta risk everything,” Jobs tells his team early on. The movie could have taken that advice; the problem with “jOBS” is that it plays too safe. Criticwire grade: C+”
I can’t imagine the amount of pressure that was endured by these guys throughout the film-making process. “Hey, we’re making a film about one of the most important figures of our generation. And we have almost no budget. And Ashton Kutcher is the lead.”
Kutcher, who is known for his starring roles in sitcoms and romantic comedies, drew skepticism when he was announced as the film’s lead, even though he bears a remarkable resemblance to Steve Jobs. But from the sounds of it, he gave quite a performance.
Despite the lackluster reviews, I look forward to seeing jOBS when it hits theaters on April 19.
What about you?