If what we see in director Joshua Michael Stern's Jobs is true, Apple cofounder and all-around cool-product guru Steve Jobs, who died in 2011, was no bargain in the human-being department. When an early girlfriend—played by Ahna O'Reilly-- tells him she's pregnant with what she's certain is his child, he informs her that her condition isn't his problem. Jobs tries, feebly, to balance the man's epic contributions to the universe with his all-out douchebaggery. But how much of the latter can we, let alone Jobs's poor girlfriend, be expected to take? Our first glimpse of Jobs, played by Ashton Kutcher, is as a graying middle-aged gent unveiling the iPod to an audience already high on his Kool-Aid. As he strides across the stage, a charismatic nerd in mom jeans, their eyes follow him rapturously; they’re like Silicon Valley Children of the Corn. He Who Walks Ahead of the Curve speaks in earnest-sounding but marketing-ready slogans: The new device, he informs them, is a "tool for the heart. And when you can touch someone's heart-- that's limitless." The movie wants us to see the man spouting these bromides as an older, wiser one, whose products touch the part of people's hearts that's directly connected to their wallets. But Stern can’t keep it purring smoothly, and too often drops interesting threads: James Woods shows up as a professor who sees Jobs's spark of whatever-it-is, but he's little more than the symbolic Teacher Who Cared. Also, we meet Jobs’s bubbly blond wife (Abby Brammell) late in the movie. How did that happen? The movie itself, ultimately worshipful, ends up being Jobs-like in the cold way it treats flesh and blood.
Joshua Michael SternAshton Kutcher, Dermot Mulroney, Josh Gad, Lukas Haas, J.K. Simmons, Matthew Modine, Amanda Crew, James Woods, Jeremy Shada, Lesley Ann WarrenMatt WhiteleyMark HulmeOpen Road Films