Spread (2009) Poster

(2009)

User Reviews

Add a Review
56 ReviewsOrdered By: Helpfulness
8/10
Sexy, subversive and very surprising...
appleknight28 June 2009
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.
186 out of 254 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
3/10
a heavy handed and patently nasty ode to 21st century values of greed and excess
gregking427 August 2009
Warning: 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.
42 out of 62 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
5/10
Not a comedy?
Hardryv15 January 2011
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.
21 out of 30 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
7/10
"I was actually surprised with this movie"
flashtanto22 October 2009
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.
59 out of 95 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
1/10
Still Waiting To See If I Got Punk'd...
virtuall_boy14 August 2009
Warning: 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.
53 out of 86 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
5/10
Boy Toy.
Robert J. Maxwell24 March 2011
Warning: 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 commands.

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.
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
7/10
Very satisfying and well acted; I enjoyed it
Dragoneyed36326 April 2010
While Spread certainly wasn't a popular film when it was released, it didn't fly by my eye and it caught my attention for some reason, and I had been wanting to see it for awhile. When I got to view it, I was actually pretty satisfied with what I saw. The movie itself is quite well done and though it's apathetic and dull around the edges, the main story is strong and effective. The acting from both Ashton Kutcher and Anne Heche is great and believable, in my opinion, and though all the characters certainly weren't breathtakingly astonishing, they were actually well done enough to where I enjoyed them and I thought they were interesting and likable.

The real redeeming qualities this film has are an interesting plot, and Anne Heche & Ashton Kutcher. While the plot, as I've said, is a little tiresome, it never fails at being interesting and appealing. It pulled me in from the beginning because I got into Ashton Kutcher's character and I thought it kicked off to a very interesting start. Ashton Kutcher's character Nikki while being a bit tedious at times, as were most characters, was never really badly done and his and Anne Heche's character Samantha's chemistry together was amazing and their story is likable, and her character was probably my favorite because of the actress's portrayal, which leads me to another great aspect of this film; The performances.

Anne Heche was amazing as Samantha, and I really just found her performance genuinely likable and impressively delightful. Ashton Kutcher also did a pretty good job with Nikki and Margarita Levieva did alright with Heather, too, but the performances by and especially the chemistry between Heche and Kutcher was what I really enjoyed and for that I thought the first half of the film was stronger than the second half, which became kind of rushed and, how shall I say, dry, but still effective.

Nonetheless, this movie in my opinion is entertaining, interesting, well acted and it has a very poignant script. While it's certainly no masterpiece, and could've been done better in ways, it was still very satisfying and I enjoyed it. Not the best of 2009, and not one of the most popular, but it is a secret pleasure that I hope to get more people aware of.
23 out of 39 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
2/10
Not worth the time.
dlee-103731 August 2010
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.
16 out of 26 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
Surprisingly Good
moossaboossa16 April 2011
After reading a few reviews, I expected this movie to be a mildly pornographic rom-com. As the credits scrolled, however, I was surprised to find that this movie was not only well made and well casted, but the story behind well thought out too. Although some aspects of the story were clearly unreal (like the glamour and ease with which Ashton Kutcher picked up women), I thought that some things portrayed in Spread were rather accurate. One idea, which Nicky (Kutcher) mentions several times, is how people run to LA to pursue their dreams- but how the reality is that nothing is quite as magic as it seems. Most movies, having been made in Hollywood, would not necessarily incorporate this into the story. But this movie daringly features not only this but other controversial issues, and is therefore quite thought provoking. On the surface I can see why people thought the scenes of sexual nature were unnecessary, but really, the sex was part of the story. It was showing what Ashton Kutcher, who plays a gigolo, did to survive. And it showed how meaningless it all way for him. Overall I really enjoyed this film, and think that it carries a much deeper meaning than one would presume.
9 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
A film of lust and love and the difference
click_199321 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I enter the film without too higher expectations. I though it would not be worth my while. Yet it became clear quickly the acting and attraction of the film was a lot better that I had original anticipated. I am proud to say that by the end I was truly impressed and moved; particularly by the ending and Ashton Kutcher acting as Nikki. Spread is a film with a story not dissimilar to other erotic thrillers. The character of Nikki is not unlike the character of Daniel Day-Lewis in The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Yet in spite of the film seeming simplicity, Spread has a lot more to offer than at first glance. Nikki, (Ashton Kutcher) is a character who is very dependant on other people. He almost feed of the women he meets as if he is a parasite. Although from an external point of view Nikki is a heartless creature, through out the film one is pulled into him whether willing or not.

The other actors in the film give a strong a convincing part as they help or hinder Nikki through his life. Although the acting is by no means bad, Kutcher does slightly push the others into a shadow. His performance is a superb one. He does not use a lot of drastic movements or shouting to move is characters emotions. Indeed it is the stillness and quietness of Kutcher which gives Nikki his edge. Kutcher strength is in his voice. He has a very sexy and convincing voice, but that is not all that he uses it for. The happiness, lust, greed, love, sadness and despair which Nikki feels are conveyed wonderfully through Kutcher voice.

The film takes place in LA: A city connected with dreams and heartbreaking. LA is often seen as a place where misery lives and this is referenced at the end of the film yet the city is portrayed as a desirable place to live. Part of this is through Nikki's eyes with the sense that everything in his life is perfect. Yet even after it all begins to go wrong, the city still remains beautiful. This reminds the view that we are not watching a film about LA, we are watching a film about a promiscuous young man. Also on a deeper note it could be to convey the fact that love can be found right in front of your eyes even if you can't see it.

The erotic senses in the film are seen as very casual. They happen in frequent bursts. These scenes seem to just copy one another almost, as if every girl is the same to Nikki. Yet once he leaves Samantha and re-meets Heather the scenes change in feel. They become longer and gentler; more beautiful and loving.

Eventually Nikki falls in love with Heather. We know from the start that there is something different for she is the one girl he has a true difficulty seducing. Usually it is Nikki who plays and uses the women he takes, but Heather almost reverses this and seems to be playing with him. Nikki's mind changes and he does begin to feel a true sense of love rather than just lust. Although Heather does "break" Nikki's heart it does show the audience that Nikki does have a heart and he is just as human as the next man. Heather has an extra intelligence which the other women don't and this along with a combination of other things brings out the heart in Nikki.

The film as a whole is an interesting story and well acted with a good script and ideas. The ending its self is a very good ending for the story and has a very final conclusion to it. The film manages to convey what it is trying to say and in a way that is not boring or repetitive. The film is an adult film in both content and idea, however, it is a film definitely worth watching and I would recommend it to any adult with a interest in good film drama.
17 out of 29 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
loading
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews