Reviews for the closely watched Steve Jobs biopic, starring Ashton Kutcher as the mercurial tech visionary and directed by Joshua Michael Stern, have finally surfaced following months of hype, sneak peeks and an innovative marketing campaign that included the world’s first Instagram trailer.
But all that didn’t translate into enough tech support: Critics have taken the film to task for a reach that falls far short of its ambition, marred by its superficial and unsatisfying portrait of an icon who deserved better.
Here’s the 411 on the consensus.
• “It would drive Steve Jobs nuts to know that the new movie about his life has all the sex appeal of a PowerPoint presentation,” rants The New York Times, which notes that the “movie is inevitably unsatisfying, but never more so when the figure at the center remains as opaque as Jobs does here.”
• “[Kutcher’s] performance comes off as an assemblage of mannerisms with no deeper feeling or understanding,” writes the Los Angeles Times. “Jobs feels curiously out of touch with its subject, both as a man and regarding his impact…But even TV movies are done with more verve than this these days.
• “Jobs is excruciating, failing to entertain and all but pissing on its subject’s grave,” rails Slant, which dismisses Jobs as an “abysmal fact-based film, whose makers seem enamored with the concept of a Steve Jobs movie, but haven’t anything close to the chops that are needed to pull it off.”
• “His performance, like the movie, is all surface,” the New York Post says of Kutcher. “The depiction of Apple’s early years comes dangerously close to an infomercial… Jobs amounts to, at best, a Cliffs Notes version of the man’s early life. If you want the real story, you’ll have to read Walter Isaacson’s fascinating 2011 biography, which would make a much better film than this.”
• “One thing it doesn’t do is offer a revealing look at the mercurial entrepreneur,” offers USA Today. “The movie that bears his name settles on a blandly superficial treatment of a deeply complex man.”
• “There’s a void inside the man that Kutcher never manages to fill,” observes The Washington Post. “The film is so thick with Jobs’ career highlights and lowlights that there’s little room for insights. What made this famously private man tick?”
• Entertainment Weekly‘s Owen Gleiberman diverged from the pack, praising Kutcher for a “shrewd, unsweetened performance” that left him “surprised and frequently compelled by what a starkly honest portrait it is. Still, “even as Jobs sticks to the facts of Jobs’ life, the movie gets a little too caught up in his legend.”
• “Genius, according to Kutcher’s bland performance, is a matter of pursing your lips, pausing, speaking deliberately and arrogantly and reading every line as if you already know the retort, because you are Steve Jobs and therefore an omniscient god,” writes the Chicago Tribune.
• “Kutcher nails the genius and narcissism. It’s a quietly dazzling performance,” offers Rolling Stone, which nevertheless had its reservations. “Jobs is a one-man show that needed to go for broke and doesn’t.”
• “Tasked with playing one of the most complicated and accomplished visionaries of our time, and [Kutcher is] in over his head. Kutcher’s just not the right OS to make this movie hum,” sniffs the Chicago Sun-Times.Follow @Infocelebrity on Twitter!
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