The first reviews of jOBS: Meh
Some folks got a sneak peak of the new movie about Steve Jobs last week and, based on their reviews, I won’t be rushing out to see it
Five Star Feature Films
Love him or hate him, I think most folks will agree that Steve Jobs was a genius. After all, the man did bring us the iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad (well, and Ping, too, but even hall of famers strike out a few times). Naturally, then, when you think of actors to portray this titan of business, technology and design on the silver screen, you think of the guy who starred in Dude, Where’s My Car? right?
Well, for better or for worse, that’s what we got in jOBS, the new movie starring Ashton Kutcher in the lead role. Though jOBS doesn’t officially open until April 19th, it premiered last week during the closing night of the Sundance Film Festival. A number of folks who saw the movie have posted reviews of it. I took a spin through a handful of them to see what was what.
As easy as it is to make fun of the choice of the guy from That ‘70s Show to take on the role of Jobs, people seemed to agree that Kutcher did a nice job, particularly in impersonating the Apple chief. The Next Web (TNW) said he “got it right,” while the Hollywood Reporter wrote that Kutcher “faithfully re-creates some of his character's physical mannerisms” and Gizmodo felt that he “nailed his character.” However, Variety said that while he got the physical and vocal portrayal right, “the illusion never fully seizes hold.“
As for the film’s overall portrayal of Jobs, it sounds like most felt that director Joshua Michael Stern and writer Matt Whiteley came at it from the fan-boy perspective. CNET said that the filmmakers were “more interested in showing Jobs going about the work of being a genius.“ The Hollywood Reporter felt that Stern took a “reverential approach,” and in general found it to be “too respectful of the tech icon’s innovations .” So, don’t expect much by way of a critical analysis.
Supporting characters, aside from possibly Josh Gad as Steve Wozniak, don’t get a whole lot of play in the film. CNET felt their parts were “poorly written” while TNW wrote that they were “under-utilized” and the Hollywood Reporter added that the supporting cast “don't have much to do” and that the screenplay lacked “the critical perspective that better-developed supporting characters could provide.” Somehow this all seems appropriate since, when I think of Steve Jobs, I don’t think of “team player” (there were lots of i’s in his products, after all).
The movie, apparently, doesn’t stray far from (or add much to) what most of us already know about Jobs and the period covered by the movie, 1974 through 2001, with Variety writing that it was “sticking close to its subject.“ TNW also noted the omission of some key events along the way, such as “significant swaths of technical development of the Macintosh and Lisa computers.”
Aesthetically, the movie got good reviews across the board. Variety felt that the production designers “capture the look of each decade,” while Gizmodo noted that the “late 70's and early 80's haircuts were all in place,“ and even went so far as to note that the opening credits were in Helvetica Neue Light typeface. Can’t say I recall a movie review mentioning credit typeface before.
The overall reviews were somewhat mixed, but mostly towards the middle. CNET found it “shallow” and “saccharine,” while the Hollywood Reporter called it “passably entertaining,“ and TNW “workmanlike.” Gizomodo seemed to like it the best, saying it was “surprisingly nice” and “satisfying.” Variety, though, while finding it “reasonably engaging” also said that it “more or less embodies the sort of bland, go-with-the-flow creative thinking Jobs himself would have scorned.”
Based on that, I think if I want to pay $10.50 (or more) to see Ashton Kutcher in a movie theater I’ll wait for Dude, Where’s My Car? 2.
Have you seen jOBS? What did you think? If not, will you be going to the theater to see it? Dude, let us know!