Release date: August 16, 2013
Directed by: Joshua Michael Stern
Written by: Matt Whiteley
Official website: jobsthefilm.com/
Steve Jobs was a mad man, a genius, a real SOB, but off all he was an innovator. The biopic 'jOBS", directed by Joshua Michael Stern, tries desperately to be the computer genius equivalent of "Social Network", but can't quite replicate the moodiness and intensity of the David Fincher Oscar nominated film.
"jOBS" begins in the mid-70's when Steve Jobs (Kutcher) was living as a non-student at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. Smarter than everyone already, Jobs used mind expanding drugs in order to get a new perspective. It's a symbol of how he would evolve as a business man and an innovator. Limitless thinking.
The film takes us through the most of Jobs career, focusing mainly on his younger days in California, where he founded Apple Computers out of his parents basement. It never shies away from the fact that Jobs basically cast his friends and family aside in order to advance his company -- at least according to the movie. It details his rise and fall and resurrection as the man who would come to bring the world the magic of iMacs, and iPods, and iPhones.
Like him or not, Steve Jobs was a pioneer in the advancement of modern technology. His life was interesting, there is no doubt there. But the movie takes the slow, plodding route to tell his fascinating story. The look and feel of it seem more appropriate for a made for television movie. The script feels like a paint by numbers of Steve Jobs life-line, as if it were just that easy to write the screenplay -- make a list of things that happened in his life and then writing scenes that involves actual things he said in real life.
Ashton Kutcher gives it his all, but he just comes off as someone who spent a lot of time rehearsing long winded speeches. Every other scene is a rambling speech delivered by Kutcher's Jobs. And because he is such a jerk, it becomes increasingly hard to root for him, even though you know how it already turns out. This lack of emotional connectivity is ultimately the downfall of the movie. We're left with a series of very well rehearsed speeches and monologues and a few dramatic efforts that fall short of their marks.
Much of the attention is given to Kutcher, who struggles through the weight of it. Left standing on the sideline are a few decent performances. Josh Gad plays Jobs longtime friend and founding partner Steve Wozniak, while Dermot Mulroney plays Mike Markkula, the man who came in and gave struggling Apple Computers the financial backing it needed. They're both great, but they're there to give Kutcher a sounding board.
"jOBS" is a rather mundane look at an otherwise brilliant life and a genius of a man who had a real problem letting others into his own life. But because the filmmakers refuse to let the audience in as well, it comes off as a heartless and joyless effort.
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