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What the Critics Are Saying About "Jobs"

Jenna Polito | August 16, 2013 | Story

Ashton Kutcher's (surprisingly) well-received performance notwithstanding, the new biopic Jobs has been receiving heat for its portrayal of late Apple CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs. A round-up of critical opinions:

Mick LaSalle, The San Francisco Chronicle: LaSalle believes that for most of its duration, Jobs provides a satisfying reflection on the life of its subject. "At its best," he says, "it's a good picture, and at its worst, it's almost good." According to LaSalle, the movie doesn't fail in the expect areas: Kutcher, for instance, is "perfectly convincing" as Jobs. But the movie skirts the last dozen or so years of Jobs' life, when he reached the peak of his creativity and cultural influence.
3 out of 5 stars

Mary F. Pols, Time: While engaging in the beginning, Jobs spends too much time in boardroom meetings with greedy suits. "Not that the real man’s career wasn’t marked by conflict," says Pols, "but does Jobs have to be such a drag?" Similarly, the repeated lectures from Jobs become a bore, and his other professional interactions don't speak well of the character. "Do we get a sense of the man’s greatness? A bit, but mostly we get a sense of the man’s douchebaggery."
No rating given

Mark Olsen, The Los Angeles Times: In reference to first-time screenwriter Matt Whiteley's choice to focus on the period of Jobs' life from 1971 to 1991, Olsen notes that the film "doesn't seem particularly interested in assessing Jobs' impact on how we live our lives now." Nor, in his opinion, does it bring us any closer to understanding the man himself. To Olsen, Josh Gad's Steve Wozniak is ultimately the most compelling character in the film.
No rating given

Jonathan Kiefer, SF Weekly: Kiefer concedes that at least Kutcher's performance elevates Jobs to "something other than just That '70s Start-Up", and Josh Gad shines as Steve Wozniak. But their efforts can't save the movie from its heavy-handed script, which "seems directly extracted from Apple marketing materials."
No rating given

Claudia Puig, USA Today: According to Puig, the biopic presents a divided portrait of Jobs, and "can't seem to decide whether to glorify the man for his achievements or vilify him for his megalomania." The movie suffers for its blandness and superficiality, and its attempts to shed any light on the complex and mercurial man that Jobs was fall flat. "It's a challenge to convey just what makes a cultural icon," says Puig. "But pumped-up orchestral strains and repeated scenes of standing ovations and thunderous applause don't shed any light on Jobs' psyche."
2 out of 4 stars

Nathan Rabin, The Dissolve: To Rabin, the pacing and progression of Jobs feels inelegant, "as if the filmmakers decided to adopt the iPod’s “shuffle” feature as its overarching aesthetic". While Kutcher successfully recreates Jobs' intensity and ambition, the movie is ultimately "a one-note performance of a supremely complicated figure."
2 out of 5 stars

Tim Grierson, Deadspin: Despite having innovative intentions (focusing on only a period of Steve Jobs' varied life; casting Ashton Kutcher in the lead role), Jobs succumbs to problems typical of biopics. "It's too much of a greatest-hits overview," says Grierson, "not enough of an incisive dive into its subject." The movie also fails to flesh out the less appealing aspects of Jobs' personality: "Kutcher's performance," says Grierson, "shies away from the necessary ugliness of many top innovators."
Grade: C

Charlie McCollum, San Jose Mercury News: Viewers seeking insight into "what made Jobs tick" or "why a man with such flaws became such an inspiration" will leave the theater disappointed, suggests McCollum, because Jobs fails to deliver answers. Yet, the critic insists that the movie's shortcomings do not stem from the Ashton Kutcher's abilities as an actor, as he gives a consistent and convincing performance.
No rating given

Stephanie Zacharek, The Village Voice: Zacharek notes that Jobs feels disjointed, often abandoning plot threads or failing to explain changes in character's behavior, a weakness that's particularly palpable when Jobs, for all his previous coldness, suddenly develops the ability to build and sustain meaningful relationships. "The movie itself," says Zacharek, "ends up being Jobs-like in the cold way it treats flesh-and-blood people." For Zacharek, it's Kutcher who keeps the film afloat.
No rating given

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