A fellow I respect once said, "Just because a guy is a genius doesn't mean he isn't a jerk!" (He didn't use the word "jerk.") In this case, the genius is already legendary, so we let director Danny Boyle ("Slumdog Millionaire") use three major product launches to illustrate the life and times of the iconic founder of Apple Computers. Working with a demanding script from the always excellent Aaron Sorkin ("") based on the book by Walter Isaacson, he pulls back the curtain on a classic American success story.
Sorkin wrote "The Social Network," as he looked at Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, but this time, his trademark "walk and talk" scenes are overdone and unrealistic. All of them take place during product launch countdowns ("30 minutes, Mr. Jobs!" "Five minutes, Steve!" "It's time! You don't want to be late!") so I constantly felt anxious and impatient with the intransigent Mr. J. In addition, each launch features the same six people backstage. Really??? Plus everyone interrupts, swears, and no one ever changes his or her mind.
- * Michael Fassbender ("12 Years a Slave") is Steve Jobs, an abrasive guy who marches to his own drummer. He isn't a programmer, can't write code and is not technical. He sees himself as an orchestra conductor, he doesn't play any instrument, but is in charge of all.
- * Seth Rogen ("The Interview") is Steve Wozniak, the brilliant geek who worked shoulder to shoulder with the "other" Steve to launch Apple. He's tired of being Ringo to Jobs' John.
- * Kate Winslet ("Insurgent") is Joanna Hoffman, a woman who can go toe to toe with Jobs. She is the overworked dogsbody who, for decades has kept him on schedule, placated his coworkers and looked out for his daughter Lisa.
- * Jeff Daniels ("The Martian") is John Sculley, the CEO of Apple whose board of directors ousted Jobs when he wouldn't budge on his new operating system.
- * Katherine Waterston ("Inherent Vise") has the thankless task of playing Chrisann Brennon, mother of Lisa, a daughter Jobs refuses to recognize even after DNA proves he is the father. (I said he was intransigent.) She has had a sinus infection for over 15 years.
- * Perla Haney-Jardine ("Future Weather") is the third version of Lisa. We watch Lisa grow up on screen. Her relationship with her father is contentious to say the least. By the way, in this one, there is no mention of his wife or his other children....
- * Michael Stuhlbarg ("Hugo") Andy Hertzfeld is constantly abused, insulted and demeaned by Jobs. In return, he suggests Lisa find a therapist and provides a strong masculine figure for her childhood. (Jobs never forgives him.)
This offers nothing new in the way of information or insight. In my opinion, it wasted some top-flight talent. Fassbender is a pleasure to watch and Sorkin writes good R-rated dialogue, but 110 minutes is longer than I want to spend on this rehash.