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There’s no doubting the tremendous impact Apple co-founder Steve Jobs has had upon contemporary culture (especially as I’m typing this on a Macbook!), so upon his untimely passing in 2011, it was only a matter of time until biopics appeared on our cinema screens. Pipping Aaron Sorkin’s (The Social Network) much-anticipated screenplay to the post is newcomer Matt Whitely, director Joshua Michael Stern (Swing Vote) and Ashton Kutcher in the iconic role.
Kutcher makes a remarkable transformation to embody Jobs from his college dropout 20s through the tech-geek highs and gut-churning lows of Apple’s computing evolution (remember, Jobs was fired from Apple in 1985), to his mid-40s and into the black-skivvy and round-spectacled figurehead we all came to know. Through it all, Kutcher plays Jobs with a fierce passion and fiery temper, but emoting to the brink of tears in almost every scene ultimately proves wearying for an audience wanting to get to know the man behind the Apple.
Indeed anyone familiar with Jobs’ extraordinary Stanford commencement speech will learn scant more from this well meaning, middle-of-the-road biopic. There is just about enough to entertain, but Stern’s paint-by-numbers approach does little to celebrate Jobs’ most famous injunction to “Think Different”.