Ashton Kutcher Jobs movie poster teaser

The long-awaited ‘Jobs’ biopic, starring Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs, opened in theaters this weekend, and by all counts it’s been a bit of a flop. According to Deadline Hollywood, it’s sitting at the #7 spot, pulling in just $6.7 million domestically.

But is it really that bad of a movie? No. Then why is it doing so poorly? That’s a tough question to answer, but I’m going to try to do it in the following paragraphs. Don’t worry, I imagine this is the fiftieth ‘Jobs’ review you’ve come across, so I’m going to keep it short and sweet.

I saw Jobs yesterday afternoon, with my girlfriend. We went to the 12:50pm showing, and unfortunately we got there just as the previews were starting. So if they had shown the new Mac Pro commercial, we missed it.

The movie opens with Ashton—I mean Steve making his way to the stage for his big iPod unveiling in October of 2001. It then flashes back to his early 20’s and proceeds to take us on a journey of the founding of Apple…

Ashton as Steve

Overall, I thought Ashton did a good job. It’s obvious that he did his homework for the role. He had the look, the mannerisms, the walk—everything but his voice appeared very Steve-like. He also did a good job of showing emotion during intense scenes. It was entertaining, and I give him a B for his performance.

kutcher steve jobs wow

Having said all of that, I still had a major problem with the role: I could never get past the fact that I was watching Ashton Kutcher pretending to be Steve Jobs. I never fully bought into the character, and I think that made the movie less enjoyable. I kept hearing Kelso from That 70’s Show telling me to ‘think different.’

To be fair, though, I’m not sure who I would’ve picked instead.

The good

At the heart of the Jobs film is the story of how Apple was founded, which is a great one no matter how you tell it. It’s crazy to think that the world’s largest company (by market cap) started in a garage with a group of kids soldering circuit boards.

Speaking of which, all of the main cast members gave solid performances. While Kutcher probably won’t win an Oscar for this role, he was good, as was Josh Gad, who played Steve Wozniak, , who played Mike Markkula, and the rest of the early Apple gang.

first jobs trailer

And of course, the entire film is littered with famous Steve Jobs quotes. One of my favorites is the line he gave to then-PepsiCo CEO John Sculley in an effort to lure him over to Apple: “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?” Sculley joined Apple almost immediately.

The bad

It’s hard to pinpoint just what exactly is wrong with Jobs. The movie has a good cast, a solid score, and a great storyline, yet it still manages to disappoint.

I’d say the problems rest squarely on the shoulders of the script writer Matt Whiteley and director Joshua Michael Stern. The duo seem to have used the formula (which I believe I saw online somewhere, but couldn’t find it) 1+1+1+1+1+1=movie. The structure is just awful. One minute Jobs is in India, the next he’s in a garage, and the next he’s in a scene with his wife, kids and once-abandoned daughter Lisa. This makes it really tough to follow the story.

Add to that the cheesy made-for-tv-movie hero scenes, and the fact that the film left out some key areas in Steve’s life (like his time at NeXT, for example) and you can start to see why Jobs isn’t getting much love from the critics—it’s rated at 25% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Conclusion

For me, this is a classic example of a movie trying to do way too much, with far too little. It didn’t have the script, it didn’t have the director, and it didn’t have the acting talent to take on the ambitious goals it set for itself. 

That being said, I enjoyed the film, as did my girlfriend—but we’re both long-time Apple fans. Did I think it was good enough to recommend to my non tech-savvy friends and family, like my mom? No, which is why I think it’s doing so poorly. If I didn’t like the movie enough to recommend it, I doubt others did. And bad reviews + poor word of mouth isn’t exactly a recipe for success.

  • David Woje

    I have yet to see it. I’m all about the Jobs documentaries on netflix!

  • DJMannyD

    I thought it was great but yea it did jump around way to quick and I didn’t like that they didn’t show his time at Next. I’m still gonna buy it on DVD when it’s available.

    • _iTom_

      Pirate it.

  • Altechi

    The script wasn’t too good IMO. I don’t know, it felt very much like a movie for HBO or something.

    Now I want to see how Aaron Sorkins version

    But I haven’t heard anything about that movie in ages

    • Melvco

      Huge fan of his movie Social Network, so yeah, I can’t wait to see what Aaron Sorkin cooks up for his Jobs flick.

      • sivkai

        More importantly, I can’t wait to see who he will cast as Jobs (or even Woz for that matter!). Do you have any favorites?

        I’ll call mine now, Noah Wyle.

      • Altechi

        Daniel day lewis.

      • Brian M (@tech4789)

        Daniel Day Lewis is a method actor. He’s probably get sick on the weird diets Steve Jobs had.

      • Sokrates

        Leonardo DiCaprio.

      • dpacemaker

        I too would say Noah Wyle. He already played Steve Jobs and was fantastic in that role. I’m assuming you’ve seen it. For anyone else that hasn’t seen it its called “Pirates of Silicone Valley”. I thought it was good, and Wyle was a good Steve Jobs, and Anthony Michael Hall played Bill Gates pretty good too.

  • Will Fancher

    The problem for me was that the movie was all about his struggles with the board of directors. They painted this picture that Steve was a typical hippie, and tried to show a transformation from hippie to businessman with a passion. Then our beloved protagonist is put against the evil board of directors who seem to only want to attack him. That’s not what happened at all. They missed all the important stuff.

    India was a huge deal for Steve. In his hippie days, he was the same person he was for the rest of his life, albeit a bit more aggressive and less experienced. Those days were extremely important and they weren’t shown as such.

    Wozniak was not some big fat nerd reluctant to participate in business. He was every bit as excited as Steve. Just didn’t know how to be in business like him.

    The Macintosh story was my favorite part of the biography. He didn’t just assemble a dream team, then have an “insanely great” product that was just late. No the time in between was incredibly intense. It was very stressful and it showed just what kind of product Steve wanted to produce. He went to Italy for some design show thingy and came back complaining that the lines on the Mac sucked and they needed to change it. He got pissed at a programmer for not being able to make the calculator look right so the programmer ended up making a tool for Steve to design the interface for it himself. That interface that he made shipped on Macs for something like a decade.

    My point is, they’re hitting the wrong spots with this movie. In The Pirates of Silicon Valley, they hit the right spots. They didn’t quite show the detail I would have liked to see but they hit the right spots.

    If you want a good movie about Steve Jobs, the only one there is right now is the movie meant to show MS vs Apple, not Steve. The Pirates of Silicon Valley.

  • rnorthboy

    haven’t seen the movie yet; watching the promos for it already let me know he sucks.

  • Gorgonphone

    the box numbers say it flopped