Jobs: Disappointing Biopic of Apple Pioneer

Ultra-Respectful, moderately involving, but decidedly middle-brow, “Jobs” is a mediocre biopicture of the pioneering innovator Steve Jobs in his early years.

The film world-premiered at the Sundance Film Fest to lukewarm response, and originally, Open Road was going to release the picture in the spring, on April 19, 37 years after Apple’s inception, but for some reason, it was pushed back to the summer, and it now opens August 9, as counterprogramming to summer’s big spectacles.

The casting of Ashton Kutcher, a light actor better known for silly comedies, proves to be a good decision, showing that he is more gifted than given credits to. A lot of effort has been put into the physical transformation of Kustcher to look like Jobs, and the resulting physical resemblance is uncanny. It is not Kutcher’s fault that the biopic is not good enough even as a tribute to the pioneer that he plays.

The tale spans about two decades of Jobs’ career, offering some interesting, if not illuminating insights along the way. As written by Matt Whiteley and directed, “Job” strikes me as a movie meant for viewers who do not know much (or anything) about the initial career of the entrepreneur, who had revolutionized modern life with his various technological and social innovations.

A lot of information is already known about Jobs due to his early death of cancer, in October 2011. Essentially, “Jobs”” is the story of the rise and fall and rise of Jobs, as a young whiz who audaciously established, then lost, and then regained control of the Apple industries.

A brief prologue shows Jobs (Kutcher), at age 46, disclosing the iPod in 2001, wearing his signature black turtleneck. Whiteley’s screenplay then cuts back to 1974, to find the Northern California boy a college dropout. In brief strokes, we see Jobs taking a calligraphy class and traveling to India with his friend Daniel Kottke (Lukas Haas).

When he sees an early model built by his friend, Steve Wozniak (played by Josh Gad), he makes a decision to manufacture and sell computers boasting the name Apple.

With the help of tech-minded friends and financial investment of former Intel employee Mike Markkula (Dermot Mulroney), Apple flourishes into a successful company. But the negative aspects of Steve’s strong vision and assertive management have a toll-he’s described as an “asshole.”

It’s often tempting to speculate how the subject would have reacted to his own screen biography had he/she been alive. As a movie, “Jobs” is so bland and so conventional that I suspect Jobs (and his entourage) would have disliked it, as the movie stands for all the qualities that Jobs had despised, to say the least.