"Jobs" is a solid film that will probably appeal more to true tech-heads and Apple historians than to people who know the company only by the iPhone and the iPad. There's not an iPhone in sight here. That's right: the film only follows Steve Jobs until 2001 when he introduced the iPod at a company conference.
For whatever reason, critics love having a field day with Ashton Kutcher's acting work. While he's starred in some bad films("Just Married" and "My Boss' Daughter" come to mind), he's also been a part of some really solid ones. "The Butterfly Effect" is a highly underrated drama, and while "Dude, Where's My Car?" is quite absurd and somewhat stupid, it's also quite funny.
Kutcher's not the best actor on the planet, and to this day his range hasn't stretched too far beyond playing the goof. But as Steve Jobs, you can tell the former That 70's Show actor is putting in the effort. He takes good strides(no pun intended) in getting Jobs' slightly hunched-over walk down, as well as some of his other mannerisms. The biggest issue is that Kutcher never disappears into the role. Every close shot reminds the viewer that it is still Ashton Kutcher under the beard.
The film's exploration of Jobs' time in college mimics the actual amount of time he spent in college: it is brief. This is a good thing, because scenes of Steve randomly hook up with a coed and then dropping acid don't add much to the tale. Steve drops out of school, and after some soul-searching time in India, he goes to work for Atari. When he asks his pal Steve Wozniak to assist him with a work project, Steve shows him a personal project he's been working on in his spare time: the makings of what would be a personal computer.
"Jobs" spends a lot of time covering the early days of Apple, when the company had the word 'computers' in its title and it operated out of Steve's parents' garage. A montage of motherboard assembly will have computer geeks and hobbyists alike appreciating the fact that they somewhat understand what they're doing. The same goes for the lingo, when terms like 'DRAM' and 'BASIC' start flying around. Those who grew up with cellular phones already in existence will probably be bored by this point, but that is their loss. The film is as much about the birth of the company as it is about Jobs, which is a respectable decision. The company has become insanely popular since the advent of the iPhone in 2007, but it's important to know the background of the company, and the man behind such intelligent designs.
"Jobs" is certainly a celebration of the late Apple founder's life, but the film doesn't gloss over his personality issues either. There are many real-life accounts of people's interactions with Steve Jobs, and a lot of them aren't positive. Steve takes advantage of people, turns his back on his friends and ridicules his employees publicly. Perhaps what makes him tick isn't as thoroughly explored as the subjects in other biopics("The Social Network" comes to mind), but the balance is crucial to maintaining a level of objectivity.
The film has been criticized for being too thin. But then again, the same critics had a field day because they thought "The Lone Ranger" was way too long. "Jobs" wisely decides to focus on just one period of time in Steve's life. Steve Jobs was a rather private man, so why would the film need an extra thirty minutes exploring his personal life, or his relationship with his wife? It doesn't, and adding the elemental love story would just be a cliche, and a tad procedural. Much like Steve himself did, "Jobs" goes its own way, and it's a better film because of it.