Steve Jobs (Ashton Kutcher), like many college students those days, was a care-free soul looking for answers to his existence. A college drop-out, he spent many days lounging or dropping in on art and calligraphy courses. He experimented with LSD, something he credits as an important experience in his life.
Steve Wozniak (Josh Gad), a friend of Jobs, had created a personal computing device that could connect to a television set, Jobs saw opportunity, birthing Apple Computer. However, just as Apple secured a valuation to build their first all-in-one computer, his long-time companion, Chrisann Brennan, became pregnant. Jobs refused the paternity and separated from her, alienating his unborn child.
Several years later, Jobs courted then-CEO of Pepsi and marketing genius, John Sculley (Matthew Modine), to run his prized company. His infamous pitch, “Do you want to sell sugared water for the rest of your life? Or do you want to come with me and change the world?” sealed the deal, although relinquishing control of Apple would eventually spell disaster. The two men clashed in a struggle for power and would see Steve removed from Apple in 1985.
The 90’s reunited Jobs with his estranged daughter Lisa, and he went on to have two more children with his wife, Laurene Powell. Jobs’ company, NeXT Computer, was acquired by Apple which saw the return of Jobs to the company he built. Apple had seen its worst financial performance under Sculley, his replacement hired Jobs as a consultant to turn things around. It was then that Jobs met Jonathan Ive, a brilliant industrial designer, and the iMac was conceived. Jobs turned the tables on management and board members to regain control of his company and return it to his vision.
To summarize, Jobs follows the man from start-up hurdles to the board room coup that regained him his company. But this bio-pic of the computer revolutionary is ill-conceived, educating us no more than a brief wiki-pedia search can, and leaving audiences to wonder, who was Steve Jobs outside of Apple?
Ashton Kutcher does a satisfactory job as Apple’s leader. His mannerisms and trademark walk, meticulously included in every aspect of Kutcher’s performance. Josh Gad’s successful portrayal of Wozniak steals any scenes we are lucky enough to witness. Overall, this cast respects its inspiration, however short their scenes.
Joshua Michael Stern’s film is a trip down memory lane, its both good (as an Apple lesson) and incredibly disappointing (as a Steve Jobs biography). The initial half hour from college to garage are the finest scenes, but are followed by 90 minutes of trite music and apathetic cuts and montages. It’s mostly devoid of Jobs’ children and his relationships. Jobs was a brilliant visionary and a vicious leader, this fails to portray either with clarity. There’s nothing we don’t already know.
There’s no curiosity and it succumbs to conventionality – ironically violating this man’s mantra to “think different”. I suggest audiences do the same.