jOBS star Ashton Kutcher bears an uncanny resemblance to Apple co-founder and computer/social technology innovator Steve Jobs when he was a young man, but does the cinematic biopic have anything else to recommend itself? Well, its backers seem to believe so, as jOBS is premiering as the closing night entry at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival this month.
Open Road Films is partnering with Five Star Feature Films on jOBS, with plans to release the movie theatrically this April. That will allow the historical flick to not be overlooked during the competitive summer season. Moreover, it’s joining fellow inspirational real-figure biopic 42 – chronicling the experience of baseball legend Jackie Robinson – as an alternative to that month’s big releases (Oblivion, Evil Dead, Pain & Gain, etc.).
Kutcher’s vehicle was titled Jobs: Get Inspired at one point and runs the gamut when it comes to Steve Jobs’ accomplishments; by comparison, Aaron Sorkin’s Jobs project - which is currently in the scripting stage – examines his identity and historical significance through (literally) three separate scenes-as-narrative acts, taking place at pivotal moments in his career (for more, check out this LA Times report). That subversion of traditional biopic expectations goes even further than Steven Spielberg’s Golden Globe-nominated Lincoln.
However, that’s not true for jOBS, as can be gleaned from the synopsis below:
jOBS details the major moments and defining characters that influenced Steve Jobs on a daily basis from 1971 through 2000. jOBS plunges into the depths of his character, creating an intense dialogue-driven story that is as much a sweeping epic as it is an immensely personal portrait of Steve Jobs’ life. The filmmakers were granted unprecedented access during shooting to the historic garage in Palo Alto, that served as the birthplace to Apple Inc.
The jOBS supporting cast includes character actors Dermot Mulroney (The Grey), James Woods (Straw Dogs), Matthew Modine (The Dark Knight Rises), Lukas Haas (Lincoln), J.K. Simmons (The Closer) and Lesley Ann Warren (In Plain Sight), with Joshua Michael Stern (Swing Vote) directing a screenplay written by Matt Whiteley. Based on those credentials, top-notch acting and serviceable storytelling seem in order.
Whether or not the project offers more insight into Jobs’ character and motivation beyond what you could learn from his Wikipedia page – without resorting to little more than hero worship - is another matter. If nothing else, Kutcher’s interesting meta-casting, given his own involvement in the digital technology sector (serving as the Nikon camera spokesman, launching his own Twitter client called A.plus, investing in things like Skype, etc.).
Sandy Schaefer blogs at Screen Rant.