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Spread is an unusual little film. I say 'little', as it's essentially a
low budget character-driven drama that is some how being commercially
packaged as a rom-com. A quick glance at the credits reveals that this
isn't your average Kutcher vehicle: it's directed by Scotland's David
Mackenzie of "Young Adam" and "Hallam Foe" fame.
Make no mistake, the Kutcher we see at the start of the film is very familiar: arrogant, uptight and utterly beautiful. But as the run-time flies past, we somehow warm to his character even though he's getting more sex than most of us will get in a lifetime. And here's the good news: Kutcher's performance is fairly astounding. He manages to reveal the humanity in his deeply flawed character with notable subtlety and a distinct lack of cliché. Kutcher's (many) sexual relationships portrayed in the film are brutally realistic: the modern and perhaps unromantic realities of casual sex are not dressed-up in any cheap Hollywood moralising. This is also evident in the overall tone of the film: there are many moments that could have descended into schmaltz, but a sharp edge it maintained on just about every line of dialogue.
Kutcher fans: beware. This is a real departure for the actor, but thank goodness: it's a movie with all the superficial gloss of Hollywood and all the invention of an indie flick.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
An American Gigolo for the 21st century, although without the '80's morality and sense of excess. Spread is a heavy handed and patently nasty ode to 21st century values of greed and excess. Demi Moore's toy boy Ashton Kutcher is perfectly cast here as Nikki, a handsome, vacuous, arrogant but impoverished stud who seduces wealthy, lonely older women and sponges off them while giving them an enjoyable sexual experience. He is currently sharing the lavish Hollywood Hills mansion of 40ish lawyer Samantha (Anne Heche). But while she is away on business he beds a number of younger more insatiable girls. But he remains emotionally detached, and never lets anyone get too close to him. That changes when he meets Heather (Margarita Levieva), a waitress who works in a coffee shop. But Heather is the female equivalent, coasting through life and living off the largesse of wealthy older men. But Heather is even more complicated than that. When Nikki falls hard for her it is a relationship that will change his life. Spread is an undeniably handsome-looking production, but it is rather vapid and empty. We've been through that younger man/older woman vibe too many times in the past (Shampoo, Sunset Boulevard, etc) to be seduced by the rather lacklustre version of the story served up here. Working with director David MacKenzie (Young Adam, etc), first time screenwriter Jason Hill serves up a morality tale in which the narcissistic young stud eventually gets his comeuppance. Kutcher may get by on his pretty boy looks but his performance is flat and he brings little depth to a character who is pretty shallow to begin with. There are oodles of flesh on display here, but the coldly staged sex scenes fail to generate much heat.
I was hesitant at first to watch this movie. First it was the name, spread. I assumed it was going to be about fashion models and magazines or something lame like that. Second Ashton Kutcher is in it, not a selling point for me. But I was actually surprised with this movie. Ashton isn't his normal character in this film. To me it seems like he is going for a Hayden Christensen sorta thing. Most of the other characters in this film are bleak to say the most. They just kinda come and go with out any attachment, well from the viewers perspective at least. Anne Heche is super hot in this movie. I could never really feel for her though in this movie. I guess it was just the way she reacted to the situations at hand. I did love the pothead roommate though! It was hilarious hearing her cough in the distance. And the fact that she never came out of her room, I can relate with that. Well I liked this movie and it actually got better throughout the movie. Check it out if you have an hour and a half to kill.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I must have missed the boat somewhere.
In its opening moments, 'Spread' bills Ashton Kutcher as an object of uncontrollable lust - he quickly and effortlessly beds the affluent character portrayed by Anne Heche and then proceeds to make her his sugarmamma; in voice-over Kutcher play-by-plays the finer points of his pick-up artistry while screwing a bevy of other Los Angeles babes (many of whom he is able to bang without fear of any reprisal, inexplicably, from Heche, who is confusingly low on self esteem - more about that in a minute). I got lost quickly in terms of comprehending how or why Kutcher, who prances around throughout the film looking like a campy homosexual in suspenders and little earrings, is understood to be such a smouldering sex symbol, and moreover, that I am just going to buy into this conceit with a straight face. I doubt I was supposed to laugh out loud during several awkwardly explicit sex scenes that proudly advertise Kutcher's O-face, but I did anyway.
The victims of this bizarre Kutcher adonis appropriation are the women he encounters. All of the girls he seduces during the first half of the film, especially Heche, come off as pathetic, thoughtless tramps - if we can't buy what the flick is selling about Ashton, what does that say about the girls he nails? The first time Heche catches him 'cheating' on her, we expect the crappola to hit the fan; instead, she gets aroused and has sex with him. Seriously? Their relationship is played off at points as some kind of torrid affair, but during a scene where Heche tosses designer clothes at Kutcher and he looks on with what is (assumedly) supposed to be darkness and angst, we are pressed to wonder how many takes it took for him to do it without cracking up.
Nevermind the derivative, unimaginative story and the all-too-predictable comeuppance moralizing that happens in the second half. And I would be grateful if anyone can answer me about just what in the hell is going on with any or all of the following: a sequence where Heche has Kutcher mysteriously drive her to the hospital for an overnight stay, later revealed to have been for vaginal reconstructive surgery; an encounter Kutcher has with a former lay in a grocery store, midday, only to find out the girl is tanked and needs to pull over on the drive home to throw up; and, once again, Kutcher's wardrobe, especially one scene where his suspenders and a black-and-white striped shirt make him look like a street mime - is this 'style' considered trendy and hip in LA these days? (And if so, god help us.) When Ashton finally hits bottom and resorts to selling off his Gucci clothes at a pawnshop only to throw a hissy fit outside on the street - not sure how I was supposed to react to this (I laughed) - it really gets driven home that we are watching Kelso from That 70's Show try to 'act'... and it doesn't work.
Is all of this supposed to be taken ironically or seen as some kind of contemporary social commentary? If so, I had trouble reading it that way, and I think most of the credit for that is due to the headliner. Maybe if Ashton Kutcher himself was in any way relevant over the last few years beyond Demi Moore/douchebag jokes, coming into this film an audience might more properly be able to frame the experience. Sadly, the end result is all too tragically similar to the degrading way the girls in the film come off: utterly pathetic.
I was surprised to find so many descriptions for this movie describing
it or tagging it as a comedy... by my reckoning it's more of a light
drama expressing the costs of inconsiderate over-indulgence. The
players and performers all did their job as one would hope in any
movie, but emptiness in the script and storyline left me wishing I'd
spent my time more productively. I can't speak to any sense of realism
in it, but perhaps there are worldly examples I'm simply unaware of. I
did enjoy a few aspects of it, but there's little in the way of empathy
that one can generate for the characters within as they're all between
'hollow & insensitive' and 'dishonest & abusive'.
My suspicion is that it will have greater appeal for younger audiences, mainly because some of the scenes portray rampant levels of decadence that they'll be more likely to appreciate than those of us in our 40s.
I thought this movie to be a comedy, as it was labeled such, so I was
sort of waiting for a movie to make me laugh. The movie "Spread",
however, is not really a comedy, more like a drama. But it wasn't a bad
movie at all.
The story was nice, and it was a story that you easily could get yourself into and follow it. The story was going forward at a brisk pace and you wanted to see where the story would take you. I like the aspects of human behavior and how we treat other people and how it was portrayed in the movie. The director managed to hit that one straight on the head.
The cast in the movie was good. Ashton Kutcher did a good work as the lead role of Nikki. He has that boyish charm to him, and that worked well in this particular movie. But, the one carrying the movie would be Anne Heche in the role of Samantha. She did a phenomenal job in that role. I am not usually a big fan of her, but in this movie she was brilliant. And the chemistry between her and Nikki was really well acted out in a believable and good manner. And Margarita Levieva, playing Heather, was also quite good, and this is the first time I have seen any of her work.
Now, what didn't really go well with me was all the sex scenes. Well, I know it was important for the movie, but I just found it a bit too much. There was too much focus on those scenes, and I found it a tad over the top. But hey, I wonder if the movie would have been the same had they left them out. So just a little heads up for those haven't' seen the movie yet, there is a lot of adult situations in the movie.
The movie did get around a couple of interesting questions along the way. And a movie that leaves stuff for afterthought is one of the better kind of movies, entertainment and debatable at the same time. However, for me, this movie is not the type of movie that has enough value for a second viewing. It is watched once, then bagged and tagged.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Spread is just basically a film where Ashton Kutcher gets to show-off
and gets around to seeing a lot of pretty women fleshed and taking
advantage of them. Its a sex comedy with enough sex and not enough
comedy nor smarts to deliver. The movie sets its tone in the first few
minutes with Ashton (Nikki) reading his first line while walking
around. "I don't want to be arrogant, but I'm an incredibly attractive
man," he informs by his dry narration he ingratiates himself into the
lives of rich older women to gain access to good clothes, fine food and
The film and its characters were very odd and weird. Nikki was very monotone and did what he wanted. Anne Heche (Samantha) was way generous towards Nikki, and it starts by their introduction. It seemed to fake and unrealistic. The film starts out rough in its first 30 mins then gets slightly better. The first half of the film is more of a sex-com with the adventures that Nikki takes involving Samantha. The 2nd half of the film involves Heather a waitress who Nikki eventually gets and stays with. This half becomes more of a rom-com and this is where the film goes downhill. In the second half, Samantha isn't in the film (except in the last 5 mins). The script and plot were just dumb and not great, the movie just falls apart and the film gets boring. Its a rather different Hollywood film.
Another thing with the film is that Kutcher's performance wasn't all that great and he wasn't really believable as the gigolo. Also the clothes he's showing wearing are pretty silly (colourfull clothes and suspenders) Lastly, the ending was actually pretty weird and depressing, though not much. The audience didn't really care much about him in the first place and the ending showed that. But it still have should ended better. The last few minutes ends with Nikki speaking and picking up a mouse and making his toad eat the mouse. It sets like that for the last 5 minutes until the screen went black, its pretty bizarre. But before that it showed that he didn't end up with neither girl (Heather or Samantha). The film has its moments but not many, and they should have added more comedy. It really isn't a funny film and I don't think it was really trying but the trailers showed it out to be a romantic comedy. The movie was pretty bad and could have been much better.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie was dreadful. Firstly, Ashton Kusher may be suitable to play
jovial roles in tawdry sitcoms; however, he lacks the talent to assume
more serious parts. The main character in Spread is a young cad named
Nikki (Kusher), who narrates about the complexities of living in Los
Angeles. Yet his narration is mostly a collection of meaningless quotes
that make him sound like a buffoon trying to appear knowledgeable.
Nikki visits a nightclub one evening and meets Samantha (Anne Heche), a rich older lawyer with a lavish condo. The two start a relationship and the film is loaded with sex scenes of this 'cougar' and her 'boy-toy.' Nikki moves into her condo (he is a bum without a house or a car, thus he repeatedly mooches off wealthy older women). After a few days, Samantha leaves for a business trip and Nikki invites some younger girls over for some carnal escapades. Samantha comes home early from her trip and catches Nikki cheating, yells at him, but then seconds later the two start having sex.
The character development in the movie is flimsy. Heche's acting is acceptable, yet the film neglects to explain how a gorgeous and successful lawyer is drawn to an underachiever like Nikki. The director of the film, David McKenzie, is focused on skin over story. This should be his last film for the silver screen and he should apply his skills to pornography, which seems to be his preference. That may sound harsh; however, anyone who directs a movie heavy on sex, low on plot, and with bad acting is not suited to make legitimate films.
As the story progresses, Nikki later genuinely falls in love with an attractive waitress named Heather (Margarita Levieva). But she is a hustler who abandons him for a rich businessman in New York. A dejected Nikki returns to L.A. where he gets a job delivering groceries.
This is 98 minutes of my life that I will never get back. None of the characters are worth caring for and the acting, aside from Heche, is lousy. The only reason I am not giving this movie a 1 rating is because my 2010 New Year's Resolution is be a nicer person and voting 2 out of 10 constitutes an act of generosity.
Nothing new here. A story that happens ever day to people that you
won't particularly care about.
The first half is slow moving soft porn and the second half is devoted to watching shallow people live shallow lives. People doing the same thing over and over again and yet somehow expecting different results.
If you can get past that everything else was adequate.I just don't see why they would assemble all those people and all that talent to tell us a story about people that were neither bad enough nor good enough for anybody to even take notice of.
Rent something else.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I suppose Anton Kutcher must be handsome. He's tall and dark and every
woman who approaches him seems to melt into some kind of amorphous
plastic object that wobbles towards the nearest bed and begs him for
He doesn't do a thing for me but his appearance, his pheromones, and the size of his apparatus seem to suit him well in La La Land. He puts everything he has into selling his looks and stamina to a rich lady like Anne Heche, who puts him up in her spacious modern flat overlooking the City of Angels. They sip expensive wine and nibble bonbons when they're not schtupping each other. Well, they have to do SOMETHING because the Kutcher character has the wit and sensitivity of a cucumber. He's recklessly selfish. His insights run along lines like these: "When a girl tells you you're not going to get anything, that's when you know you're going to get something." Heche returns home unexpectedly and finds him being serviced by a young blond wearing only a golden helmet while he watches Monday Night Football. I guess I ought to make it clear that although this is sometimes labeled a comedy, it's not. Heche tosses out all the fashionable clothes she's bought him, and then throws him out too.
This puts Kutcher on the street and he must hock a few of his more outrageous items from Prada in order to get along, while mooching off a male friend.
Then he runs into Margarita Levieva, a dark-eyed pretty thing who waits tables. She ignores his advances at first but he insinuates himself into her apartment, when he begins to put his usual moves on her. She insists he sleep on the couch so he doesn't get the wrong idea, but the light is no sooner out in her bedroom than he's creeping towards her in his skivvies complaining that the couch is too short, he's just going to slip in bed next to her, they're both adults, they can keep their hands off each other, and the baloney keeps grinding out, as in a factory. She agrees reluctantly. And I'm thinking, if she falls for this line, she's at least as stupid as he is. "I can feel you're smiling but I can't see it," he murmurs to her naked back. She rolls on her side and smiles openly at him. She's as stupid as he is.
Another conquest for Kutcher, whom I am, by this point, beginning not just to dislike but to hate with the kind of rubescent glow that only a hatred born of envy can generate.
I breathed a sigh of relief when Margarita turns out to have a rich fiancé back in New York. (He owns the Rangers.) She's not only as stupid as Kutcher but just as avaricious. But, now that the two poor people are in love, she flies back to New York to settle things with the wealthy fiancé who has been supporting her in Los Angeles. Kutcher finds he has trouble reaching her on the phone.
At this point, the story could have gone in one of two ways. (1) After several scenes of increasing tension, just when Kutcher is about to give up all hope, Margarita shows up, with an anxious smile, at his doorstep and they fall into each others' arms while a folk song about love swells up softly in the background. At that point, I would have walked out and sold my golden body to the nearest female bidder. OR (2) Margarita decides to stay in New York with Mister Right and Kutcher winds up sadder but wiser with a pedestrian job in Los Angeles.
The resolution lay behind Door Number Two, thank God. Yet, I still found it unsatisfactory in a way. Of course I was happy that Kutcher was able to reach Maslow's stage of self actualization. (He delivers groceries.) But real life in my experience doesn't work that way.
It's improbable that a man in his mid or late 20s who has been a shallow, self-interested sex fiend for all of his adult life is going to turn his entire character around because he's found someone as unprincipled as he is, and she's shown him what that looks like from the outside. He has a final exchange with Heche when he drops her groceries off. She asks how he's been. He smiles and says he's doing alright -- and he seems to MEAN it. It's a happy ending that sits on the film like a clown's cap on a performing seal. And as he drives his delivery truck away, there is a sappy love song on the sound track.
Kutcher's character is a dull man with no particular talent, intelligence, or sensibilities. He isn't evil. He's not even bad. He's simply empty except for his narcissism. He ought to be out there on the boardwalk in Venice, listening to rock on his Walkman, while doing capricious figures on roller skates. The best performances (and the best lines) are given to women, especially Anne Heche, who tells him in no uncertain terms where he stands on the life course. This movie could have been written by Tennessee Williams' ghost.
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