Is it possible to make your dreams come true without sacrificing a part of yourself? What happens when those people closest to you abandon you in your greatest time of need? That's part of the premise behind the DVD release of "Jobs," which followed one man's quest for success that almost destroyed him in the long run. Unfortunately, the movie's results failed to provide much insight into any of the characters that hasn't been told before with better success.
"Jobs" followed Steve Jobs (Ashton Kutcher) who felt that he didn't need a college degree in order to create something that no one ever used before. In 1976, he recruited his technical wizard friend Steve Wozniak (Josh Gad) to help him create a home computer that even everyday consumers could purchase for their home once the time was right. Even though the company's success was slowly growing, Jobs' skills as a salesman couldn't get him to move his start-up company out of his parent's garage. Luckily, the company's luck turned around with the help, and financial support, of Mike Markkula (Dermot Mulroney) who helped Steve turn his idea into a successful business. Within a matter of years, Jobs and Wozniak's success led to the forming of Apple, Inc. Sadly, Steve's wild behavior and inability to sometimes be realistic led to Apple's board members, including Arthur Rock (J.K. Simmons), to doubt Jobs' ability to remain in the company. Pretty soon Jobs' friends (Ron Eldard, Lukas Haas, and Victor Rasuk) became expendable to him because he was afraid to trust anyone. What he didn't see coming was that Steve ended up being betrayed by one of his closest friends and someone he hired to help run the company for him. The company that Jobs helped build ended up marginalizing him due to products that failed to generate huge revenue. After a series of events, Job was allowed to come to Apple on his own terms, but will he be able to stay a little longer this time around?
In terms of questions, the movie answered some that were pretty self explanatory and have been told before in different forms of media; whether through books, television or the internet. The movie made the mistake of overlooking a way to humanizing an iconic person in a way that made Jobs relatable to moviegoers. Unfortunately, that lack of insight made it even less possible for viewers to relate or even root for the characters. When Kutcher's Jobs spurned his pregnant girlfriend (Ahna O'Reilly), it was hard to fathom that someone could reject the mother of his child; which in turn led him to reject his daughter for a long period of time. It also didn't help that certain plot points were rushed while others tended to linger a lot longer than they should have. Sure, the movie showcased one brief scene that resolved that storyline but there should've been another to explain how Jobs' daughter ended up becoming part of his family years later. The movie also seemed to have a hard time transitioning characters to make room for new ones that sometimes left viewers wondering what happened to certain ones for long periods of the story. A few of them didn't seem to serve much of a purpose beyong being tools to move the story along, including Matthew Modine's brief role as former Apple CEO John Sculley. The character was designed to be someone who designed his opinions to help whoever wielded the most power at the time. The movie also indicated that Sculley and Jobs were once friends before Sculley helped to oust him. The story could've used a few more scenes to make viewers understand Kutcher's Jobs and his frustration to those who disappointed him the most. Oh well, the viewers did get the chance to see a memorable ending where everything came together perfectly in one pivotal board room scene.
As for breakout performances, Kutcher and Gad gave decent performances in the early portion of the film when the characters were toiling away in their start-up company in a garage. They had a comfortable rapport that helped to bring some levity and fascination as the origins of Apple were explained. Kutcher had the challenging task of playing the role of the well known Jobs, but he gave a valiant effort to make the character come to life in a story that failed to match him performance wise. He provided moviegoers with a cross between his usual trademark charm and the occasional tendency to be a subtle villain who manipulated people into getting what he wanted. Kutcher worked hard to humanize his version of Jobs, even when the character rejected the people that once meant the world to him. His most memorable scene was when the character realized that he lost everything in one board room vote that failed to go his way. Kutcher's face was filled with enough sadness and anger to make him sympathetic for a while. Gad, on the other hand, had a tougher task of making his character more than the traditional sidekick who helped to generate the much needed amount of laughs. Gads' performance bordered on being silly at times, but his scenes were much more effective when he wasn't working hard for laughs. Gads' strongest scene was when Wozniak went to see Jobs in his office to tell him goodbye. The scene provided the right amount of drama and sadness as the long time friends realized that their corporate journey ended before the business relationship truly soured. It's just a shame that Gad and Kutcher's final scene didn't seem to generate much on the storyline radar, but it was a bigger shame that the movie didn't showcase a reunion between the twol even if it possibly never happened in real life.
Verdict: Despite some early potential, the movie failed to deliver any surprising revelations about Jobs or executed the story in a way that will keep viewers interested once the end credits rolled.
DVD Score: 1.5 out of 5 stars
Movie Rating: PG-13
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)