Plot: The story of Steve Jobs (Ashton Kutcher), from his days as a college drop out, his founding of Apple, and tumultuous time as CEO.
Jobs is a very straight forward run-of-the-mill biopic. It’s got the type of music you would expect from a biopic, our protagonist starts from humble beginnings, he gets that big break, there are a lot of arguments and fallout, and in the third act he tries to build himself back up. But despite its predictability and cliches, Jobs is a tight and enjoyable film, and it’s the unlikely performance of Ashton Kutcher that drives this entire movie.
Sure, Kutcher has been moderately funny on television, but there was nothing to indicate this guy was an actor capable of more. When he was announced as playing Steve Jobs, you could feel the collective “Oh,cCome on!” from the Internet. While I also thought it was a questionable choice, I’m not that surprised he turned in the performance he did. This was a chance to prove his chops, and any actor is going to take that opportunity and go all out. That’s exactly what Kutcher did. He’s fantastic in this role. Kutcher personifies a conviction, intelligence, and great rhythm for this character. When you have a movie where it’s entirely Steve Jobs giving speeches, motivating his team, or agitated that his complicated ideas are not being implemented, the actor has to carry that film, and Kutcher is flawless. When Jobs is really in the zone, and the film is focused on his obsession with perfection, that’s when this movie shines brightest. I’m convinced this may have been a one hit wonder from Kutcher, but I’ll give him a shot in more serious roles after this.
While Kutcher is basically the entire movie, the film offers plenty of solid supporting roles from the likes of Dermot Mulroney, J.K. Simmons, and Ron Eldard. The only one that really missed me for was Lukas Haas as Daniel Kottke, Jobs’ buddy from college and who continues working with him at Apple. He seemed a little too pathetic and uncharismatic, which I guess was kind of the point. The other stand out for me though was Josh Gad as Jobs’ right hand man, Steve Wozniak. There was a great chemistry between him and Kutcher, and it’s definitely the strongest relationship in the film.
While the best parts of Jobs are just watching him go off on tangents, the flow of the film breaks when they try and force the more dramatic and jackass aspects of the character. For example, there’s a great scene where Jobs finally gets the investment he needs for Apple, and you immediately want to see that momentum carry into the next scene. But the film stops dead when they introduce a problem between Jobs and his ex-girlfriend (Ahna O’Reilly) in the very next scene. Even though Jobs does some pretty douchey things, it’s a credit to Kutcher’s performance that you still like and root for him. While these moments certainly belong in a biopic to help flesh out the character, they aren’t fully explored here, and as a result the film does not flow as well.
While some of the heavier scenes fall short, Jobs is a solid entertaining movie with good tension, strong dialogue, and a really charismatic performance from Ashton Kutcher. Even though the third act is a bit weak and kind of ends abruptly, I like the last speech that concludes the film. The real testament to this movie is that I probably could have stayed for another 10-15 minutes, and that’s always a good sign.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10 (Very Good)