Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars
A lone figure walks down the halls at the Apple Computer campus. He enters the auditorium and takes center stage. He is about to reveal something that emphasizes the one rule he has for the company, that their projects touch the heart. With great fanfare he produces the small, handheld item that will hold and play 1,000 songs. “Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the iPod!”
The time is 1974 (or, if you read the giant poster on the wall of the student union, 1972). No, really. It’s 1974. Reed College, to be precise. We meet Steve Jobs (Kutcher) as he crashes on a sofa. Restless, he has left school but still battles with the various ideas in his head. When we meet him a couple of years later he’s fighting with his co-workers at Atari. He tracks down his friend Steve Wozniak (Gad) and together they come up with an idea, a new kind of personal computer system that Jobs calls APPLE.
A true inside look at the life of one of the most influential people of the past century, “JOBS” details the highlights of Steve Jobs career, warts and all. As portrayed by Kutcher, he was not a likable person, constantly driven by his pursuit for perfection and the inner feelings of rejection he felt from being adopted. The latter is a subject that is only briefly touched on, which is surprising. Also surprising is the portrayal of Jobs as a man who denies the child that is obviously his, yet then names one of his biggest projects after the daughter in question (he eventually recognized her as his). Kutcher bears a striking resemblance to Jobs and manages to embody him in full. It is an often emotional performance that could have very easily been turned into a characterization. That being said, it should be noted that, if you look at the casting, Steve Jobs may have been the only attractive man in the computer business. The majority of characters that little the APPLE campus appear to have been cast from the attendees at a local sci-fi/fantasy con, complete with oversized glasses. Gad is very good as Wozniak, whose main objective is to invent things and have fun doing them. Supporting work by Dermot Mulroney, Matthew Modine, Leslie Ann Warren and Kevin Dunn, among others, is solid. J.K. Simmons, a normally great supporting actor, is quickly identified as the “villain” and plays the role to a tee.
Many of the highlights (and lowlights) of Jobs’ life are visited during the film, though surprisingly there is no mention made of his involvement in the creation and support of PIXAR Films, which is curious. That being said, “JOBS” is an entertaining look inside the mind of a genius.