Opening this weekend is the new Steve Jobs biopic called Jobs. Ashton Kutcher stars as the man who founded Apple Computer. From the film’s official synopsis:
The extraordinary story of Steve Jobs, the original innovator and ground-breaking entrepreneur who let nothing stand in the way of greatness. The film tells the epic and turbulent story of Jobs as he blazed a trail that changed technology – and the world – forever.
STARRING: ASHTON KUTCHER, DERMOT MULRONEY, JOSH GAD, LUKAS HAAS, J.K. SIMMONS, LESLEY ANN WARREN, RON ELDARD, AHNA O’REILLY, JOHN GETZ, with JAMES WOODS, and MATTHEW MODINE
I saw Jobs more out of curiosity than anything else. I didn’t think Kutcher really looked all that much like Jobs in the trailers, I’ve seen the story and have read the story way too many times so you could say my expectations were pretty low. Even with low expectations the film didn’t do a whole lot for me. There’s a couple of positives, but overall it’s about as good as expected.
Josh Gad is the first positive. He’s pretty much the only one that really seemed to capture the character he was playing. Sure I knew it was Josh Gad the entire time, but he seemed to have Woz’s mannerisms and speech down pretty well. The more I see of Gad, the more I like.
The other supporting cast is pretty good too. J. K. Simmons is always a personal favorite. He’s just a solid character actor. Same for Lukas Haas. Matthew Modine is pretty decent and Dermot Mulroney is always good. And I love seeing Ron Eldard in the film. I’ve been a big fan of his for years and he’s a much underrated actor the same way Lochlyn Munro is. The soundtrack is also quite good.
So if the supporting cast is good, what’s the problem? Unfortunately to me it starts with the story and also involves Kutcher. What I thought when I saw the trailers proved to be accurate, I never saw Steve Jobs, I just saw Ashton Kutcher. And I’m not a Kutcher hater at all. I was a big fan of That 70’s Show and liked The Butterfly Effect, but Steve Jobs was iconic, the glasses, the black turtlenecks, it’s hard to have someone portray that. Jobs was a genius, but he was also equal parts PT Barnum and I just don’t think Kutcher captured that the same way Gad captured Steve Wozniack.
Then there’s the story. We all know the story. Jobs left college, started Apple Computer in his parents’ garage with Woz and some friends and started the personal computer revolution. There is nothing new to that story in Jobs. Maybe that has to do with the real Apple Computer having nothing to do with the film. If you want to see a movie that tackles the story way better, watch the made for TV film Pirates of Silicon Valley starring Noah Wyle and Anthony Michael Hall. There is no Bill Gates in Jobs besides a scene with Kutcher on the phone “talking” to Gates after Gates came out with Microsoft Windows. Gates would have made the perfect antagonist in the film because Gates was the orange to Jobs’ apple. I think that’s the problem with the movie, it’s a straight biopic with no real antagonist besides Jobs’ personal ego. You can’t really root for him because you already know what’s going to happen and in fact, you probably root against him because of his treatment of Woz, his friends and girlfriend/mother of his first child Lisa.
Jobs didn’t do a lot for me. Other then watching him drop acid and try to pick up college girls, there’s nothing all that new if you know any of Apple’s past or Jobs’ past. There’s been a rumored script coming from Aaron Sorkin about all of this so I’d wait for that genius to handle it a lot better. If you do want to watch something really good with Ashton Kutcher, watch his speech from the recent Teen Choice Awards. Much kudos to Chris Kutcher and his speech to young kids.