MRR Review: "Jobs"

Photo Credit: Open Road Films (II)

MRR Review: "Jobs"

Rating: PG-13 (Drug content, language)
Length: 122 minutes
Release date: Aug. 16, 2013
Directed by:Joshua Michael Stern
Genre: Biography/Drama

Finish college, get a stable job, and work your way up the corporate ladder. The traditional path to corporate success is so engrained in American culture that when a true innovator comes along, it can shake the entire paradigm of modern business. Steve Jobs was one such innovator who took the world of technology by storm and wrested a hefty market share from the personal computer industry. "Jobs" tells the story of Steve Jobs, the cofounder and CEO of Apple, one of the most iconic brands in American history.

"Jobs" follows close on the heels of Steve Jobs' death in 2011 after a lengthy struggle with pancreatic cancer. The 2013 film traces Jobs' professional journey from a college dropout working on a startup in his parents' garage to the CEO of one of the highest-grossing multinational companies of all time. Ashton Kutcher takes on the leading role as Steve Jobs, an uncharacteristically dramatic turn in the actor's lengthy comedy career. Kutcher handles the role with admirable precision, capturing everything about the legendary inventor's persona, from his blind ambition and charisma to his quirks and mannerisms.

"Jobs" is anything but a biased nod to the late Apple pioneer. In fact, the film manages to capture Jobs' weaknesses as well as his strengths, painting a more realistic and relatable picture of him as a man. The audience gets an intimate look into the behind-the-scenes conflicts that threatened the startup in its early days and the drama that created a rift between Jobs and his Apple cofounder, Steve Wozniak. By focusing on the negative as well as the positive aspects of Jobs' ascension to fame and power, "Jobs" earns its place as the definitive creative biography of this technological icon.

Critics and fans alike have rightfully noted that "Jobs" has done for Apple what "The Social Network" did for Facebook, proving that audiences are hungry for the human stories behind the technological giants that affect their daily lives. While "Jobs" delves into many of the practical aspects of founding a company and creating a truly innovative product, the heart of the film is in the relationships between its characters. Josh Gad is outstanding in his supportive role as Steve Wozniak, the cofounder and chief programmer of Apple Computers. "Jobs" follows the progression of Jobs and Wozniak from best friends and partners to bitter rivals, lending a very realistic element to the classic success story. The tension between Jobs and Wozniak is palpable throughout the film, and audiences will find themselves torn as they relate to both men.

Director Joshua Michael Stern is known for his work on such comedic dramas as "Swing Vote" and "Neverwas," so it's no surprise that "Jobs" features plenty of dry wit. Steve Jobs was known for his sense of humor and creativity, and these aspects of his personality show through in the film's dialog. The inventor may be gone, but his powerful words and ideas will resonate with audiences long after the film is over. "The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do," is one of Jobs' most iconic quotes. Kutcher delivers the line with conviction in a press conference scene in which Jobs is defending his decision to take on IBM, the company that exclusively dominated the personal computer market at the time of Apple's launch.

"Jobs" focuses on Steve Jobs' humanity and the ways he used his understanding of people to shake up an entire industry and make a better computer. While other companies were focusing on coding and functionality, Jobs turned the business model on its head and let design lead function. Macs were and are known for their innovative style. The film chronicles Apple's quest to turn personal computers into a statement and a status symbol rather than just pieces of office equipment. The most impressive aspect of the film is that it manages to pay homage to Jobs' life while simultaneously painting a brutally honest picture of his path to success.

"Jobs" goes above and beyond the standards for a good biography. The film excels on every level, from the acting to the realistic narrative of the major events in Jobs' life and career. The film is sure to appeal to a wide audience, from tech-savvy Apple customers to anyone who admires an innovative spirit. Solid performances by Ashton Kutcher and Josh Gad bring the events of the film to life, giving audiences a fair and realistic perspective on the building of a corporate empire. "Jobs" is a refreshing change of pace for a summer film, offering an intelligent, thoughtful, and dramatic alternative to the action flicks that tend to fill the summer box office.

Rating: 3 out of 5