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Ashton Kutcher is Steve Jobs, the iconic Apple innovator and groundbreaking entrepreneur. This inspiring and entertaining film chronicles Jobs' early days as a college dropout to his rise as the co-founder of Apple Computer Inc. and forced departure from the company. More than a decade later, Jobs returns and single-handedly sets a course that will turn the once-tiny startup into one of the world's most valuable companies. His epic journey blazes a trail that changes technology – and the world – forever. JOBS is a riveting story of a true American visionary, a man who let nothing stand in the way of greatness. Co-starring Dermot Mulroney, Josh Gad, J. K. Simmons and Matthew Modine.
As docudramas go, Jobs works better as a profile of an innovative company than of the demanding entrepreneur who cofounded it (Apple would have provided a more apt title). Director Joshua Michael Stern opens with the launch of the iPod, a notable development, but not an especially dramatic one, before backtracking to the college dropout days of the oft-barefoot Steve Jobs (Ashton Kutcher), who comes across as more of a ladies' man than a visionary. His electronic expertise, however, leads to a job at Atari, while his friend Steve Wozniak (Josh Gad, whose comic timing enlivens the proceedings) ends up at Hewlett-Packard. When Steve finds out about the personal computer Woz has been working on at home, he sees the chance to revolutionize the industry, so he ropes in some fellow computer fanatics to construct motherboards, secures an investor (Dermot Mulroney), and launches Apple Computers. Meanwhile, his girlfriend (Ahna O'Reilly) informs him that she's pregnant, and he kicks her out. Stern continues to alternate between professional milestones and personal misdemeanors, including Jobs's hiring of marketing mastermind John Sculley (Matthew Modine), his ouster from Apple, and his return to shake things up with the Macintosh. Interesting stuff, except it plays more like a made-for-TV movie than a motion picture, and Kutcher's attempts to stifle his innate charisma come close to caricature. There's historical value here, but Stern never finds a satisfying way to reconcile his subject's contradictory impulses, leading to a catalog of facts and figures without any underlying soul. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
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(2) The supporting characters and background story lines were either well fleshed out or minimally acknowledged without much in between, which tended to leave me with unanswered questions. Considering the amount of material there was to cover and the seeming complexity of Jobs as a person, the movie just couldn't cover it all. The movie primarily focused on the business (Apple) side of Jobs' life but, given the overall message/story the movie was going for, pieces of Jobs' personal life did have to be pulled in from time to time. These pieces had to be quick but sufficient enough to make the point they were trying to make. The efforts to pull that off were good but ended up making the movie feel a bit jumpy.
Overall, I enjoyed the movie. The actors did a good job with it, I learned some new things, and I was entertained. I'm not sure I would watch it again but it's worth watching once if you're interested in learning about Steve Jobs.
I feel the movie falls short, however, with regards to fleshing out the deeper aspects of Jobs like the intensely private part of him mentioned by his appointed biographer Walter Issacson. (Incidentally, I highly recommend Issacson's biography of Jobs.) There were definitely a couple of very memorable scenes in which Jobs had full-on anger outbursts -- a side of him that was veiled from the public at large. But beyond those memorable scenes, the movie lacks punch. Its storyline simply feels superficial.
Bill Gates visiting Apple HQ shortly after MS announced Windows and Jobs exploding on him, in person, in fact, Gates was not portrayed in the movie at all which is odd for the one Titan who paralleled Jobs rise in the tech industry being sorta Batman to Jobs's Joker.
Jobs dedication to Buddha and meditation which shaped his infatuation for aesthetics.
Jobs obsession with collecting records and recordings from Dylan, Beatles, etc
These are a few examples but the point is, though Kutcher did an admiral service in the role, and even distilling a movie down to the most significant aspects and occurrences of his life, it is impossible to cram all of the complexities of Jobs's life within 120 Minutes. It would be much better to have done a 3-5 episode TV mini-series (keeping Kutcher in the Role) as the early part of Steve's life prior to Apple going public could have easily filled 120min alone