Focusing primarily on the early years of the late Jobs’ career at Apple — from a six-man operation in Jobs’ family garage to the tense moment when Jobs was voted out by the board of directors for hemorrhaging company dollars on revolutionary technology — the film is mostly concerned with the pre-iPod days of Apple and of Jobs himself, who is not painted in a saintly light by any stretch but viewed as a perfectionist and a narcissist who would cut down his closest friends if it brought him closer to the Next Big Thing.
“Jobs” is refreshingly critical of Jobs, a man who has certainly changed my life for the better (yes, it’s true — I am an iWhore), but at what cost? If we are to believe the movie, even the six dudes who help revolutionize computers for the home user became expendable as the company grew. Steve’s single-minded arrogance does ultimately bite him in the butt, but not until all of his closest compadres — including Steve Wozniak (Josh Gad) and Mike Markkula (Dermot Mulroney) have all but given up on the guy.
Alas, a somewhat critical approach to its subject and a decent share of swell performances can only do so much to mask the biggest issue facing “Jobs,” and that is “Who goes to the movies to sit in on board meetings and hear lectures about underperforming stock dividends?” “Jobs” does what it can to make some of this riveting — there’s a tense moment between Jobs and standing CEO John Sculley (Matthew Modine), for example — but the second half of the movie definitely misses the playfulness of the first half.
The movie is also sloppy at times, particularly with the period music (I’m sorry, but “House of the Rising Sun” came out in 1964, not 1977), and it would’ve been nice to hear more about Apple’s turnaround once Jobs rejoined in 1996. Still, the movie is not the disaster you’ve heard. The real-life Steve Wozniak says the movie gets the details “totally wrong,” and while he may not be endorsing the film, I have no problem doing so with a few reservations.
★★½ out of ★★★★
Rated PG-13. 122 minutes. 2013.
Director: Joshua Michael Stern. Starring: Ashton Kutcher, Josh Gad.