Jobs, the Steve Jobs biopic starring Ashton Kutcher, arrives in cinemas in the US today, and the critics have had their say. The reviews are in, but, unfortunately, they aren't particularly positive.
Our colleagues over at Macworld.com have seen the movie, which was directed by Joshua Michael Stern, and their review isn't entirely negative.
"Will Apple fans at least find Jobs entertaining?" asks Macworld's Philip Michaels. "Even at a run time that’s just a few ticks over 2 hours, the movie zips along, though things do begin to lag when the action shifts to the board room machinations that led to Jobs’s ouster from Apple in 1985.
"For a scripted drama, it includes few head-slapping errors likely to dampen your enjoyment of the picture (though admirers of Jef Raskin may do a double-take to see his role in the creation of the Macintosh reduced to that of “officious functionary”)."
"Remove the baggage that comes with documenting Steve Jobs’s life from the equation, and this is a pleasant though not particularly moving biopic about a visionary’s attempt to show the rest of the world what personal computing could make possible," Michaels writes.
Unfortunately, though, the film has been described as "a video Wikipedia entry" by another Macworld colleague, thanks to historical events that are crammed in so quickly it's like ticking off a Steve Jobs biography check list.
Michaels does say, though, that there are moments of Steve Jobs' life that the movie absolutely nails, including the scenes where Jobs and other early Apple pioneers get down to the business of building stuff. Those pioneers include Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, who is played by Josh Gad in the movie. "Josh Gad steals the show," according to Michaels.
So what about Asthon Kutcher's portrayal of Steve Jobs himself? "Kutcher handles the role adeptly enough," says Michaels, adding "close your eyes during some scenes, and you may feel as though you're listening to a YouTube clip of the man himself."
"Still, that's an impersonation, not necessarily an embodiment," Michaels continues. "Kutcher never manages to fully convey his particular insight into what Jobs is all about."
"We could talk all day about the movie that could have been made and about how the conventions of biographical films might have been turned on their ear with a little more boldness But we have to judge movies on what the audience is given. With Jobs, you get a workmanlike, conventional, and ultimately uninspired look at Steve Jobs and the technological revolution he helped lead. That’s a perfectly acceptable result, but an odd one considering that none of those adjectives apply to the man himself or to the products he helped build," Michaels concludes.
Read the full Macworld.com review here.
A second review, this time from our colleagues at Computerworld, claims that the movie will "please Apple fans with its casting as acting as much as it will frustrate them with its script and dramatic reinterpretation of events."
It's a "creative retelling that's inaccurate for those of us familiar with the tale and superficial for everyone else," writes Computerworld's Ken Gagne.
The full Computerworld review can be found here.
Macworld editor Jason Snell interviewed director Joshua Michael Stern about the Jobs movie ahead of its release this week. You can watch the interview below.
What others are saying
Other reviews from around the web are critical of the movie, too.
So far, on Rotton Tomatoes, Jobs has an average rating of 26% based on 61 reviews.
Mashable's Emily Price describes the film as "awkward", claiming that the surface of the events portrayed in the move is "barely scratched."
She says that Kutcher's portrayal of Jobs "can't come close" but that scenes that portrayed early Apple are "great". They were shot in Jobs' actual family home from the time.
"There's no real underlying story, no real character development," Price writes. "The film desperately needs some sort of unifying story. It jumps around in time too much."
The Washington Post has given Jobs a rating of 1 and a half stars, but does note that Kutcher is "not a disaster" in the movie. The reason for the poor review is put down to the film itself, which misses some details about the "human side" of Jobs.
An example, which was also highlighted in Macworld.com's review, is the lack of detail about how Jobs and his daughter repaired their relationship, something that is skipped over in the film.
Josh Gad is praised in The Washinton Post's review, though, described as "a real pleasure."
Bloomberg has also written a review of Jobs, giving the film a rating of two and a half stars. Quite fitting, really.
There is no UK release date for Jobs, yet, but we will be sure to let you know as soon as we find out when the film is due to hit the cinemas here. For those of you in the US, you can watch the movie in cinemas from today.