"Jobs" Review: A Movie About a Titan Starring a Tit
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Jobs Review: A Movie About a Titan Starring a Tit

By Dustin Rowles | Film Reviews | August 16, 2013 | Comments ()


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There’s a great movie to be made about the life of Steve Jobs, but Jobs is not it. The primary challenge in making a film about the co-founder of Apple is finding an actor who can play an overtly cerebral, egomaniacal dick, but a dick for whom you want to root. Besides a striking resemblance to the young Steve Jobs, Ashton Kutcher is a terrible choice: There’s nothing about his character that makes you want to root for him, and all of his attempts to depict Jobs as a dick are layered in frat-boy douchebaggery. He’s an actor doing an impression, rather than inhabiting a character, and rather than earn the audience’s sympathy through his performance, the director takes shortcuts with a soaring, crescendo-heavy score to denote when we’re supposed to feel something for Jobs. There is never a moment in Jobs when you don’t think it’s the guy from Punk’d attempting to play arguably the most important figure in technology over the past 30 years, an almost ironic injustice to the late Steve Jobs, who deserves a Cranston-like actor to illustrate what an asshole genius the man was.

Putting Kutcher’s performance aside, the story also collapses under its own breadth. Where Aaron Sorkin in the Social Network limited the scope of his film to the two or three years it took to transform Facebook from a dating website at Harvard to a billion dollar social network, screenwriter Matt Whiteley covers a considerably larger timeline, from the time Jobs dropped out of college in 1974 until he launched the iPod in 2001. In doing so, he only covers the broad strokes — Jobs acid-induced epiphany, his trip to India, his partnership with Steven Wozniak, and the rise and fall and rise again of Apple, with Jobs in and out as CEO. Whitely and Swing Vote director Joshua Michael Stern substitute the events on the Jobs’ timeline for character development, illustrating Jobs’ assholery through yelling matches with employees and board members, but never making us understand why Jobs is a guy that commanded the respect and admiration of so many.

Jobs is the kind of made-for-television type of biopic more concerned with hitting all the notes than it is in actually making music. It’s a two-hour montage, a museum tour through the life of Steve Jobs with Ashton Kutcher narrating, taking pains to emphasize the name of every new character introduced as though winking to the knowing viewers in the audience, “This is … Mike Markkula, who you already know is going to be the CEO of Apple in five years, right?” I don’t really know anymore about Steve Jobs and Apple Computers now than I did going into the movie (except for the child he disowned, which is glossed over), but I do know that Ashton Kutcher does a pretty good job of mimicking the walk of Steve Jobs, though it doesn’t really inform the character in any way. The entire movie is basically a two-hour Wikipedia entry, unsatisfyingly thin for those who want insights into the innovator, and decidedly lifeless for anyone who wants to be entertained. It is a boring failure.



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