Wednesday, August 14, 2013
All the ingenuity and creativity of Apple... tossed aside for a generic, listless biopic. The Steve Jobs film, "Jobs," opens everywhere Aug 16.
I'll save you the time and make this short. Do not see "Jobs."
Okay, now the long version...
Director Joshua Michael Stern and screenwriter Matt Whiteley seemed to work very hard to provide a very forgettable film. It's all over the place! "Jobs" is full of moments that beg to be grand and pivotal yet ask nothing of the audience. And little is given from the actors. We can't relish every benchmark in Steve Jobs' career if they come instantaneously and without cost to the viewer. (Jobs is played by Ashton Kutcher, who should really hang back and let "That 70's Show" reruns and Nikon commercials dictate his only media presence.)
Those crucial, climactic moments are thrown haphazardly into every other scene. Steve gets his first sales deal in a minute's time. He leaves his pregnant girlfriend or is it his wife? That's not specified. But we hardly see her and he leaves without discussion. We need to be warmed up, we need to get to know the characters, and we need time to digest. The audience has to anticipate a scene's climax to appreciate it. Foreplay is important.
The film's unimaginative and generic opening features Jobs' unveiling of the first iPod. I imagine most people in the audience have seen something similar in at least one other film. The closing scene is Jobs speaking generalities about life and greatness into a microphone overlapped with shots of him walking randomly inspiring his fellow compu-buddies.
Undoubtedly the best part of the film is Kutcher's mastery of the nerd walk. At times it seems too forced, but it's impressive nonetheless. Chest caved, knees inward, arms lanky and awkward -- this is probably the most impressive acting feat I've seen from Kutcher. But it's not worth paying $15 dollars to see.
Nathan John is a Cinema Junkie guest critic and the KPBS Newsroom Coordinator.