I posted this review of the recent Ashton Kutcher movie “Jobs” in a recent discussion thread with friends and family on Facebook, figured I would go ahead and share publicly.
I’ll get the obvious out of the way: it’s not a good movie. Felt more like a low-budget made-for-tv movie than a feature film. However, I pretty much expected that.
I have to admit: Kutcher exceeded my (very low) expectations. Given a better script and more budget (you can tell there were a few “we don’t have time to shoot another take” moments) it could have been pretty good. Kutcher was genuinely trying, and occasionally succeeding in capturing the essence of the role. I was skeptical of the casting, but he was better than Noah Wiley (who is a spitting image of Jobs) was in “Pirates of Silicon Valley.”
The makeup was one of the worst parts– I mentioned it needed more budget, this is one of the best places they could have spent it. Often broke suspension of disbelief.
Some of the sets were very well done– they clearly scoured over old photos and worked hard, and had a talented art director with a desire to get things right. Too bad the same couldn’t be said for the screenplay– would have been nice if they had cracked a book or two in the interest of historical accuracy. It’s pretty obvious the primary source was ~~Kotke’s~~ Hertzfeld’s (excellent) book rather than the more recent Jobs biography. Pity, as that meant everything after the early 80s is practically pure fiction.
Those who know me know that I LOVED “The Social Network” even though it plays just as fast and loose with history. However, the difference here is that I grant less dramatic license to a movie that not only has less mainstream appeal, but less artistic merit. The only people who are going to see “jOBS” are people who already know– and care about– the story.
Example: Wozniak was never on the Mac team– he was an Apple II guy to the bitter end of that product line. Why make that change? Also, he never left Apple (contrary to the scene where he tells Jobs he is leaving.) he had to take a sudden leave of absence when his plane crashed and he suffered neurological problems, but he never stopped being an employee– his tenure at the company is unbroken aside from the aforementioned medical leave. (Though he has been part time and largely a figurehead for decades.) I understand the second change for the sake of simplicity, but the first one (Woz on the Mac team) is puzzling and adds nothing.
I said it felt like a TV movie… I take that back. It felt like fan fiction. Where the fanboy/author wants to see a few choice scenes that are emotionally important to him, but he cares not how we got there.
Aside from the sets, there were a few other things to like. The casting of Jeff Raskin was inspired, and even their Scully was pretty spot on.
All in all, 2 out of 5 stars. A few redeeming qualities, and slightly better than my abysmally low expectations. Worthy of a rental.