No, we're not being Punk'd. But on Sunday, when Variety announced that Ashton Kutcher had been tapped to play Steve Jobs in an upcoming biopic of the Apple co-founder, some entertainment writers dismissed the news as an April Fool's joke. Sorry, guys: The Two and a Half Men actor really is set to star in Jobs, an independent film based on the visionary's life, set to begin filming in May under the direction of Joshua Michael Stern (Swing Vote). Jobs is not to be confused with Steve Jobs, a biopic based on Walter Isaacson's best-selling biography that will reportedly be adapted by Oscar-winning scribe Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network). Kutcher and Jobs do look alike, but can the star of Dude Where's My Car? really embody one of the greatest thinkers of our time?
This must be "a bad joke": Kutcher and Jobs are both attractive, playful men with a deep interest in technology, says Dave Smith at the International Business Times. "But unless Stern makes a silent movie, or a movie solely about Jobs' youth, this is going to be a disaster." Kutcher has never successfully played a character who isn't eerily similar to his goofy self. The emotional range required to capture Jobs — who was ruthless one minute, caring the next — is "too much for Kutcher to handle."
"April Fool's? Why Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs is a bad joke"
Actually, it could work: Give Kutcher some credit, says Dave Thier at Forbes. He's a brilliant tech investor, labeled by The New York Times as "the most prominent entertainment figure in the high-tech venture capital game." That suggests he may have an edge which he hasn't been able to mine in his typical "affable dope" roles. Plus, "Jobs was a weird guy," and Kutcher should be able to nail his early hippie days.
"Can Ashton Kutcher handle playing Steve Jobs?"
It's still the inferior Jobs biopic: Yes, the two men share a "surprising physical resemblance," says Kofi Outlaw at Screen Rant. But "the thought of Kutcher bringing even a millisecond of his Michael Kelso schtick from That '70s Show" to this movie "is enough to make one shudder." Besides, the other Jobs film in development is obviously the real contender. If I could watch only one Jobs biopic, and "one stars Ashton Kutcher [while] the other was written by Aaron Sorkin," it's a no-brainer which one I'd choose.
"Ashton Kutcher to play Apple's Steve Jobs in Jobs biopic"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- How our botched understanding of 'science' ruins everything
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Russia is stealthily threatening America with nuclear war
- How to be the star of a cocktail party where you don't know anyone
- California's epic drought
- The girl who wouldn't die
Subscribe to the Week