The rise of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs is fueled by determination, cold shoulders, unconventional wardrobe choices, and some recreational drugs. And we are to be inspired.
Ashton Kutcher is fitting for Steve Jobs, arrogant and at times maniacal. Josh Gad is fantastic as Steve Wozniak, and Matthew Modine and J.K. Simmons play men often standing in the way.
It’s not that Jobs, the posthumous business-oriented biopic of Apple Computer’s founder, doesn’t have an opinion of its titular tech wizard – it’s that it has too many. It wants to make sure we know that the ascension of the influential entrepreneur was not an easy one, both for him and the people close to him, but director Joshua Michael Sterns can’t seem to decide what to make of Jobs.
We first meet him in his later years, in 2001 as she gets ready to unveil the iPod with his usual measured, revolutionary speech. We then jump back in time, meeting a young and idealistic Jobs in college – he is sitting in classes and wandering the campus, but has officially dropped out. He gets a bit of wisdom from the dean (James Woods) that, in conjunction with the opening scene, sets the stage for a movie that wants to be inspirational and ends up being melodramatic.
It’s because Jobs isn’t the nicest of guys, as we learn. He casually does drugs and sleeps around and while his fearless and stubborn nature are assets when growing his small business (occupying his parent’s garage), it’s less than welcoming when it comes to friends and family. To his credit, Kutcher is admirable as a driven, cold-hearted man who cares not about who he leaves behind, which includes a pregnant girlfriend.
So he’s not especially likeable, and that’s fine to have as your protagonist, but Jobs seems to want to both highlight this dark side of the Apple man while ignoring it later in life. While much of the disjointed, disheartening film chronicles a bit of mad genius, it turns towards the light as it heads for the end, with pithy, lofty speeches peppering every scene as if to say the past matters not, only inventiveness and success of the present.
It ends up leaving a bad taste, as past digressions are stressed but later glossed over. An interesting journey becomes prophetic and insufferable – Jobs doesn’t make anyone look good, existing in its own insular world. You know how Apple products don’t always work well with others, often making for an arduous task to exchange information? That’s this movie: frustrating, cumbersome, and unnecessary, though ambitious and determined, with lots of pieces that need to be fixed.
Should You See It?
No. At least The Internship didn’t try hard to pretend it was anything but a two hour advertisement for Google. Read a biography about Jobs instead. Then go pick up an Android.
Memorable Quote: “You’re good. You’re damn good. But you’re an a$$hole.”