Apr 14, 2014

Review: jOBS (2013)

Everyone is familiar with Steve Jobs, probably the most famous of all executives for a company ever. His impact on computing is undeniable and a movie of his life was inevitable following his death in 2011. jOBS is a missed opportunity in properly showcasing Steve Jobs' life because of its insistence on turning his life into a series of episodes that don't build on one another.

It covers his life from 1974 while he was still a student until 2001 with his unveiling of the iPod which the latter is actually the episode that opens up the movie. Nothing wrong with that really, it's supposed to make us the viewers wonder, "Now how did he get there?" jOBS does the best it can to show that but it stretches itself too thin.

1974-2001 is a really big chunk of time in someone's life, especially when that someone is Steve Jobs. The important events of Steve's life are there but they're just slapped together, cue monumental moment music and then bring on the montage. There are waaaay too many montages in jOBS and it just feels too easy to sum up someone's life with a series of montages. I feel that focusing on a portion of Steve Jobs' life and not trying to cram everything would have made things better.

Another problem is that a lot of elements in the story are a little too convenient. There are a lot of references to future business decisions that are made and just feel tacked on. Difficulty getting a Walkman to pause? Ah, so that's how Steve thought of the iPod. There's also a big effort to show how much of an asshole Jobs was that to me seems a bit overblown. I'm not an Apple fanboy trying to defend the guy here but I personally feel like there's too much assholery being pushed. Apparently his parking in handicap spots is legit which I have to say surprised me.

Ashton Kutcher's performance as Steve Jobs is a mixed bag. He takes on his mannerisms pretty well but when Steve Jobs is angry, well really we get angry Ashton Kutcher trying to play angry Steve Jobs. There is a lot of angry Steve Jobs in jOBS so it's definitely problematic.

The supporting cast of jOBS is definitely a strength though. Josh Gad as Steve Wozniak is great and I wish there would have been more screen time for him but obviously this movie is about Steve Jobs. Lukas Haas, Dermot Mulroney, J.K. Simmons, Kevin Dunn and James Woods are all good actors and help take away some of the focus from Kutcher's acting job.

A Steve Jobs movie is a big deal and jOBS doesn't deliver. Kutcher does his best at portraying the man but he doesn't escape his own limitations. The cinematography and mise en scène are all adequate but the script's attempt at squeezing as much of Jobs' life into 2 hours doesn't cut it. Aaron Sorkin is apparently writing a script on Steve Jobs' life so if that does happen, jOBS will probably just fade into oblivion to be forgotten.


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