There’s no doubt that Steve Jobs accomplished many impressive feats, but his biopic most certainly does not. Utterly basic and sanctimoniously simple, the film won’t please those interested in either the man or the world-altering technology company he founded.
Opening with an aged Jobs (Ashton Kutcher) announcing the invention of the iPod to Apple employees, the over-the-top celebratory tone of this sequence frames Apple’s founder as something of a modern messiah. To be sure, Jobs has his place in history, but as this biopic lacks any real depth, the film’s simplistic portrayal fails to prove Jobs actually deserves such a vaulted treatment. This is partly due to the fact the that film’s reach is too broad, covering three decades of Jobs’ life and thus skimming it all: he dropped out of college, was obsessed with design, ran his company ruthlessly, was forced out by Apple’s board, got married, and eventually returned to helm the biggest tech company in the world. Never delving any deeper than this, Jobs feels like an adaptation of a Wikipedia page that drones on for over two hours.
At times, Jobs clearly tries to go for something darker like The Social Network by highlighting the malicious side of Apple’s founder. These are the moments that might have made for a more complex and interesting film, but are never fleshed out and end up feeling like quick throwaway scenes. Instead, Jobs ops for countless inspirational speeches that overpower the film and which are so straightforward in their sentimentality they’re comical. Or would be comical, except for the fact that after the umpteenth time Jobs takes to his proverbial soapbox to rally his employees it all becomes too grating to laugh at.
On top of this, Kutcher never transcends his mimbo image and is hardly believable as a genius, let alone a tortured one. The wardrobe department did their best to disguise the teen dream actor in that token black turtleneck and dad jeans, but the clothes don’t make the part and Kutcher can’t carry the role. Overacting and over-playing Jobs’ mannerisms—pressing his fingers together while peering over round, rimless glasses—Kutcher looks like a mere caricature of the late tech giant. Best to keep away from this bad apple.