Reviewed by Ian Forbes
Going into the bio-pic of late Apple Founder Steve Jobs, simply titled Jobs, I was all set to have a pithy discourse about the way in which Ashton Kutcher would portray the tech icon. It would begin with the line, “Dude, where’s my Macintosh?” and end with me saying how innocuous and unnecessary the movie was. Well, I’ve now sat through the two hour affair and while Jobs may have sued IBM for stealing the graphical interface Apple was using, I think director David Fincher and his producers would have a case for what this movie attempts to do with the approach taken by The Social Network.
Both movies feature a technology guru now worshipped by millions, who fought through their inability to get along with other people to create supremely wealthy companies whose products have created functionality but are almost more concerned with the aesthetic and cool factor than anything else. Along their ascents to power, both Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg saw themselves as the focal point of the universe and they forgot about some of the little people who were their friends once they had begun to achieve some semblance of their narcissistic notoriety.
Both movies start with their central characters assembling a team of tech savvy social outcasts to assemble the prototype of their vision. Once the startup capital has been obtained, the companies quickly grow bigger and bigger, with the gap between the founder and their so-called friends growing just as fast. At some point, whether through legal action or company politics, the men are brought down a peg … only to rise again! Hold on … going to vom- … wait, no … I held it in check the entire movie, I can do it here … typing on my Macbook … listening to music on my iTunes … after driving home listening to music via the iPod docked to my car’s stereo … I really don’t like myself right now.
Attempting to leave behind the obvious comparisons between the two movies (and not just in the people but in how director Joshua Michael Stern attempted to construct his poor imitation), Jobs plays out like some pithy ad campaign. Each scene is a collection of sound bytes one might have heard the turtlenecked “visionary” use in some rah rah speech to motivate the worker drones. Shortly after the platitudes, maybe some decent tune from the ’70s, or some Bob Dylan, gets played. During all that, the camera keeps pushing in on Kutcher’s smug face like a lion sneaks up on a gazelle; slowly, and to anyone looking from outside the kill zone, quite obviously.
Putting aside the amateurish filmmaking, the script simply doesn’t make much sense. It starts with Jobs as some free spirited hippie asshole college dropout, then he capitalizes on his friend Steve Wozniak’s idea to build a personal computer, they form Apple Computer, things go wrong all over the place, Apple finds itself on the brink of insolvency, in comes the Cupertino messiah to resurrect the glory of … well, himself. Cue text reminding the audience Steve Jobs passed away in 2011. Why make this if it’s just a visual adaptation of a Wikipedia page?
Worse than all of that is casually inserting Jobs’ family life, barely giving it a second thought and portraying him as a huge d-bag who wants nothing to do with the idea of a family; only to turn right around with no warning and show him shacked up with now two kids enjoying the luxury of his ridiculously large house. When the hell did his outlook on family change? It may have happened in real life but for the movie audience, it comes out of nowhere and is as baffling as choosing to put this piece of crap out in actual movie theaters to begin with.
Not even a quarter into the film, I fought to keep myself in the seat and to see this thing through. It’s a terribly made production, the acting is passable for your average cable movie of the week, and it simply seems to be bowing down in worship to the late Steve Jobs (who they constantly portray as a complete jerk with a God-complex and such bad social skills it borders on mental health issues). Jobs is an absolute and utter mess. It’s not worth the download to the digital projectors occupying movie-plexes nationwide and it’s certainly not worth any of your time or money.
Jobs was directed by Joshua Michael Stern and is rated PG-13 for some drug content and brief strong language.
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