Ashton Kutcher has been the most mocked part of Jobs, the new Steve Jobs biopic, but he isn't the film's biggest problem, according to critics.
Though the reviews—which stretch back to when the film premiered at Sundance—haven't been entirely terrible, those that take issue with the film find flaws not chiefly in Kutcher's performance, but in the unnuanced depiction of Jobs's life.
The movie, it seems, just isn't that insightful. "At an overlong 127 minutes, 'Jobs' paradoxically feels like it’s rushing through Jobs’ life and times, never capturing the man’s contradictory nature or satisfyingly placing him in a specific historical context," Alsonso Duralde writes at The Wrap. Mark Olsen at the Los Angeles Times explains that while the film tries to show the man's legendary flaws, it ends up glossing over them in an attempt to lionize him. "Somehow," Olsen notes. "His ability to oversee the development of shiny new things and speak in koan-like platitudes makes all sins forgivable." Sandy Cohen at the Associated Press puts it simply: "instead of offering insight into the man, it's a chronology of Apple and the advent of personal computers." The script, according to Brian Moylan, writing at The Guardian, "never reaches the heart of who Jobs really is," and while Justin Lowe, writing from Sundance for The Hollywood Reporter, called the film "passably entertaining," he also compared it to a commercial.
Kutcher's work in the film is faintly appreciated, but ultimately deemed unsuccessful. Olsen, for instance, writes that "though Kutcher does throw himself into the role with all he's got, trying to capture Jobs' distinctive walk and mercurial temperament, his performance comes off as an assemblage of mannerisms with no deeper feeling or understanding." Justin Chang at Variety, who reviewed the film at Sundance, called Kutcher's performance "carefully judged," but added that "the illusion never fully seizes hold."
Reviews for the film aren't particularly savage, but they aren't exactly good either. (And that four star review from Gizmodo highlighted in a trailer? It's from a reader.) One surprising silver lining, though? The general effusiveness critics have for Josh Gad's performance as Steve Wozniak. Who knew?
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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