Ashton Kutcher stars as Steve Jobs, and the audience gets to watch the smirky-faced actor, producer and very good investor play the corporate titan throughout the growth of Apple computers from his father’s garage to the ultimate failure of being fired from the company he created to the rebirth of a legend. And, along the way, we learn Steve Jobs was a jerk (A really big jerk! A really big jerky jerk-faced jerk!).
That’s the whole movie.
Writer Matt Whiteley and director Joshua Michael Stern don’t really give Jobs a storyline, we just follow the timeline highlighting the moments that made Apple what it is, and Jobs’ horrible personal relationships with just about everyone in his life, but Steve Wozniak (Josh Gad), who was the technical genius behind the products.
Frankly, we needed to see more of that relationship. Jobs is fascinating as we watch the two become this amazing, historic dynamic duo, so clearly each needing the other. Stern takes us into the quiet moments where Woz showcases his technical acumen that changed the way we look at computers, while Jobs is the brains to perceive what the public wants, sell it to them and sell it to the investors and retailers.
The relationship also brings out the best in Gad and Kutcher. Gad fills Woz with a nerdy lovability that never demeans the genius, and helps novices understand his vital role in the revolution Jobs so often is credited with (I guess that’s what happens you are the one giving all of the interviews and introducing the products).
You are left wanting more, and kind of wondering if Steve Jobs would have been a different, possibly better, person with more Woz in his life (the real life Woz is involved with an Aaron Sorkin-led biopic of Jobs, so maybe he was cut out here on purpose?).
Meanwhile, Kutcher, solid throughout the movie (for the most part), gets a chance to stand out for a few moments, which isn’t always the case in Jobs for any actor. The movie doesn’t rely on a great performance from Kutcher or anyone in the cast. Whiteley and Stern are more than happy to let the events capture our attention rather than giving Kutcher some big, meaty scenes that define the character and shock us. He mostly pulls it off in ways that haters will be left disappointed.
Jobs loses steam after a massive climactic battle over control of Apple, and never really shows the Steve Jobs years between the firing and the comeback, which could have been compelling and vital to understanding the guy who made us fall in love with our iPods.
Jobs is rated PG-13 for some drug content and brief strong language.