Sometimes Hollywood is too quick on the trigger to do a film biography of someone famous. Such is the case with Jobs, the story of Steve Jobs, creator of the Apple computer and all the Apple products that followed. Granted, his drive and foresight changed the way we all live and work in the 21st century, but do we need a biopic about him already? Probably not, especially since his life, work, and death are freshly inscribed on our collective consciousness.
According to what we already know, and what the film tells us, Steve Jobs was a genius. Good for him, and good for us to be able to enhance our technical lives with the products he created. But he also had the ability to not be a particularly endearing person. He may have been driven to create, but when it came to the human side of life, Steve Jobs was not necessarily a good friend or a good father. His drive and ability were first and foremost in his life to the exclusion of all else.
Another problem with Jobs, the movie, is that it’s dull. The script is the first, and so far only, film written by Matt Whiteley, and it shows. In trying to cram ten pounds of story into a two pound box, much is omitted that may have added any humanity to the subject. Characters come and go with little or no explanation as to why and we’re left wondering about the gaps. Despite a good cast giving generally good performances, there’s nothing in Jobs to engage the viewer.
Much has been written about Ashton Kutcher in the lead role, but in all honesty it’s a decent performance. He has nothing to be ashamed of, but will most likely take the fall for the failure of this film, both on the screen and at the box office. And there is also good work here from the likes of Dermot Mulroney, Kevin Dunn, Josh Gad, Matthew Modine, and J.K. Simmons. But in addition to the weak and muddled script, the direction by Joshua Michael Stern makes Jobs feel much longer than it’s already long two hours and eight minutes. It’s another film that would benefit greatly from the use of a fast-forward button.
After wading through this static, erratic tale of a man who changed all our lives, but would not necessarily be worthy of knowing on a personal level, it occurred to me that the subject would be better served to have this film done as a documentary. In the hands of a filmmaker like a Martin Scorsese or a Jonathan Demme, the story and back story of Steve Jobs could have been much more compelling on the screen.
Already much has been written about what a box office bomb Jobs has been since it opened. So is there any real reason you need to run out and see it on the big screen before it’s gone? Not really. If you feel the need to give it a spin, wait until it’s available at home, so you can take advantage of that aforementioned fast-forward button. Or even better… do it as a download to watch on your home computer.
The PG-13 rated Jobs is still playing, although probably not for much longer, at your local movieplex.