In this biopic of Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, Ashton Kutcher takes the lead. I knew literally zero of Jobs’ rise to success, so it seemed interesting to hear the story. I couldn’t help but go in with the expectation that this would be a similar style to The Social Network. But will it be as good as the Facebook story?
We follow Steve Jobs (Kutcher) as he drops out of Reed College, meets up with former classmate Steve Wozniak (Josh Gad), and then eventually creates the Apple franchise. Other noteworthy actors include Dermot Mulroney and J.K. Simmons. It’s a fairly straight-forward story.
Kutcher works here. Some people were hesitant about Ashton, but obviously those people never saw The Butterfly Effect, probably my favorite Kutcher film. He looks the part and especially walks the part. It’s admirable that he took this job (pun intended) and he mostly succeeded.
What doesn’t work?
While Kutcher is fine as the lead, the writing and direction don’t take advantage of this. His performance could’ve been better highlighted. The problem began in the writing room. This movie is boring in terms of structure. We spend a few scenes in each step of his rise to fame. And then it moves on. It’s formulaic and gets boring to watch. Since we’re hopping forward so often, the writing also comes off as extremely expository (ie, “Steve, that’s great, but we’ve been working on this project for months now”).
And since the movie hops forward so much, we lose any sense of emotional buildup. There’s a few key scenes where Jobs loses it, but it literally comes out of nowhere. His performance is great in these scenes but we, as an audience, are underwhelmed. And the pacing is so quick that we don’t have time to come to grips with these impactful moments, but are instead thrust forward into the next scene.
These are my major two complaints. Poor pacing and boring structure. But even Kutcher’s great performance couldn’t compare when bogged down by these two factors.
Also, there was an overwhelming amount of music and it became distracting. The soundtrack should complement the story, not detract from it.
Jobs failed really early on, when the script was written. Its structure is so quickly paced that its hard to gain any sort of traction. The writing is also amateur and overly expository. Kutcher does an admirable job but ultimately is undermined by the script and direction.