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“Jobs”

Susan Granger’s review of “Jobs” (Open Road)

 

The prologue of this cinematic biography begins with older, gray-bearded Steve Jobs (Ashton
Kutcher) unveiling the first iPod in 2001. After that, it flashes back to the 1970s, when geeky Jobs, a barefoot, drug-taking, young hippie, dropped out of Reed College in Oregon. Working with Steve Wozniak (Josh Gad) in his parents’ basement, Jobs created the first home computer. Then came the challenge of developing it and creating a profitable business. While the informative narrative delineates arrogant, perfectionistic Jobs’ rise and fall at Apple, it never comes back to the 21st century, ignoring the invention of the iPhone and iPad and Jobs’ 2011 death from pancreatic cancer.

First-time screenwriter Matt Whiteley confuses the history of Apple Computer (now Apple Inc.)
with the life of the controversial, visionary entrepreneur who changed the concept of consumer electronics.  Whiteley offers no insight into Jobs’ obviously conflicted psyche, never delving into what made him tick nor why he bullied people, publicly berated his employees, cheated on his friends, dumped his pregnant girlfriend and denied paternity, despite tests proving otherwise. Director Joshua Michael Stern (“Swing Vote”) does a barely serviceable job, aided by Ashton Kutcher who dutifully did his impersonation homework, replicating Jobs’ facial expressions, gestures and hunched-forward walk.

Steve Wozniak recently reviewed this movie for “Gizmondo,” saying he enjoyed Kutcher’s acting but, ultimately, didn’t like it “greatly enough to recommend (it).”  He faults how Kutcher imaged Steve Jobs to be. And he felt the film left out several crucial pieces to the story – like how Woz gave his own stock back to the company to be distributed among the early contributors so they could ultimately reap the benefits. He adds that Jobs didn’t have the skills portrayed in the film until later in life, following the launch of the iPod, not before it.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Jobs” is an unsatisfying, superficial 6, failing to get to the core of the famed Apple CEO. Fortunately, a second film about Jobs, created by Aaron Sorkin (“West Wing,” “The Newsroom”), is in the works.

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