Jobs biopic a real iplod
THE tumultuous life of Steve Jobs – the technological innovator who founded Apple, was forced out, returned to revive the dying company into a global giant and was revered as a visionary genius when he died, at age 56, in 2011 – is perfect fodder for a dramatically satisfying movie. Unfortunately, Joshua Michael Stern’s earnest, overly worshipful biopic Jobs isn’t it – even if it stars Ashton Kutcher, an actor with an uncanny resemblance to Jobs who has gone to great pains to even move like his subject. But his performance, like the film, is all surface. There’s little to illuminate what made the man tick or exactly why a college dropout fond of dropping LSD-turned-disgruntled Atari employee quickly becomes a demanding perfectionist who practically wills Apple’s first personal computer into existence. Instead, we get reams of expository dialogue and Jobs spouting marketing slogans, from the opening prologue set in 2001 when he introduces the iPod to his awed staff as ‘‘a tool for the heart.’’ The depiction of Apple’s early years is dangerously close to an infomercial, with the barest glimpses of Jobs’ adoptive parents (his anguish at being abandoned by his birth parents is barely alluded to) and the girlfriend he dumps when she announces she’s pregnant (he initially denies paternity of their daughter, but later acknowledges her). While the makers of Mark Zuckerberg biopic The Social Network did a terrific job of exploring the interplay between his drive and his personal demons, Jobs focuses on the not-so-compelling story of how a disgruntled board member (J.K. Simmons) and Jobs’ handpicked CEO (Matthew Modine) forced him from Apple in 1985 after arguments over budgets and business strategy. Jobs agrees to return to the near-bankrupt company as a consultant in 1996 and is quickly asked to become CEO, which is where the story ends – seven years before he’s diagnosed with cancer. The real acting honors belong to Josh Gad as Steve Wozniak – the geeky genius inventor of the Apple 1 who leaves the company because of his friend’s sometimes callous treatment of his most loyal workers. If you want the real story, read Walter Isaacson’s 2011 biography, which would have made a much better film.
– LOU LUMENICK, The New York Post Jobs opens today.