If Only Jobs Were as Sleek & Beautiful as an Apple Product
- Friday, August 16, 2013
DVD Release Date: November 26, 2013
Theatrical Release Date: August 16, 2013
Rating: Rated PG-13 for some drug content and brief strong language
Genre: Biography | Drama
Run Time: 122 minutes
Director: Joshua Michael Stern
Cast: Ashton Kutcher, Josh Gad, J.K. Simmons, Dermot Mulroney, Lukas Haas, Matthew Modine, Lesley Ann Warren, Ron Eldard, James Woods
"When you can touch someone’s heart... that's limitless." Steve Jobs touched a lot of hearts (and wallets) through his groundbreaking work in computing. He was a visionary, a genius... and as this biopic shows, sometimes a real jerk.
After a brief scene of Jobs (Ashton Kutcher, No Strings Attached) introducing the iPod, we're taken on a sentimental journey from Jobs' college dropout days through the beginning of Apple Computers in his parents' garage to the beginning of the iRevolution. His friend Steve Wozniak (Josh Gad, in a beautifully nuanced performance) created the original parts and pieces of a personal computer, but it took Jobs to see the possibilities. Together they and a few friends changed the way we use computers, and by extension, changed all our lives.
It sounds like a great American dream story, and it is—but to their credit, the filmmakers show us the bad and the downright ugly along with the good. Jobs is no plaster saint: he cheats his friends, bullies his employees, and steamrolls over anyone who gets in his way. Personal hygiene was clearly not a priority and he didn't seem to grasp the concept of forgiveness. For anyone. For anything. Ever. When his girlfriend tells him she's pregnant, Jobs denies responsibility, telling her "I'm sorry you have a problem but it's not happening to me," then kicks her out of the house. Accepting responsibility seems to have been an ongoing problem for Steve Jobs, one that very nearly destroyed his company along with his personal life. However, there's nothing like success to make people overlook bad behavior, so Jobs' eccentricities and bad habits are mostly accepted as part of the package.
Kutcher plays Jobs with an unflinching determination, capturing many of Jobs' mannerisms like his shambling stride and nervous tics. When his eyes light up as he catches the vision of a "personal computer" it reminds us what an amazing invention it is. Watching him try to get other people on board with this crazy idea reminds us just how recently the home computer revolution came about. Viewers may not like Jobs as a person, but his foresight and passion for making beautiful, useful things can't help but inspire respect and even admiration.
If only the film had been as sleek and beautiful as an iWhatever. It reads more like a TV movie than a major motion picture, a heavy-handed reminder of who Steve Jobs was, as if we didn't know. Take that moment with the iPod: what was that for? Then there's a big ol' screaming hissy fit Jobs throws on the phone with Bill Gates—a scene that drops in out of nowhere and leads nowhere (maybe it's a dig at all the PC users in the audience?). A long, boring, drug-induced dance may be meant to show us what a free-spirited genius Jobs was, but it just wastes time.
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