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Director David Mackenzie trades the Scottish Highlands for the Hollywood Hills in this darkly comic fable about a male hustler. While Julia Roberts famously portrayed a hooker with a heart of gold, Nikki (producer Ashton Kutcher) suffers from Tin Man Syndrome: he doesn't seem to have a heart at all. As he boasts in his opening narration, "I don't wanna be arrogant here, but I'm an incredibly attractive man." (He has a point, but those suspenders have gotta go.) With his finances in disarray, he sets his sights on Samantha (Anne Heche), a high-powered attorney with an amazing abode overlooking Los Angeles. For such a sophisticated woman, she's surprisingly quick to fall for his patter. Aside from attending to her physical needs, Nikki cooks, runs errands, and makes himself so indispensable he gains the use of her Amex and Mercedes. Then he meets the more age-appropriate Heather (Margarita Levieva), who doesn't find his talk quite so cute, but she gets him in a way Sam doesn't because she's a player, too. Through Heather, Nikki finds his heart, but a real relationship proves far more challenging than a fake one. If the characters in Mackenzie's first American feature, much like the gang on TV's Gossip Girl, are too vain to inspire much sympathy, they're still fun to watch. Kutcher's ladies' man may not be as iconic as the studs in Midnight Cowboy and American Gigolo, but then Mackenzie (Young Adam, Mister Foe) isn't going for tears or fears, but rather for escapism with a sexy, slightly cynical edge. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
Stills from Spread (Click for larger image)
Fresh, funny and racy, Spread is a look at the trials and tribulations of sleeping your way to a life of privilege in Los Angeles. Nikki (Ashton Kutcher) is a fun-loving, freeloading hipster who understands his greatest assets are his looks and sexual prowess. His latest conquest, Samantha (Anne Heche), a stunning middle-aged lawyer, gives Nikki more than he’s ever had before. But when Heather (Margarita Levieva), a gorgeous waitress playing the same game, catches his eye, their lifestyles force a choice between love and money. Nikki has to decide whether he can live on his own once and for all in the hopes of finding something real.
Spread Blu-ray™ exclusives: • Picture-In-Picture - Urban Sprawl: Los Angeles In SPREAD
"Spread" is basically a grifter movie with Ashton Kutcher playing (rather credibly I might add) Nikki, an over-confident hustler who lacks both a home and a car, and thus resorts to preying on older, successful (yet attractive) women. One of these is Anne Heche, who plays a successful attorney, Samantha, and finding Nikki's brash overtures rather charming, takes him home to her posh pad in the Hollywood Hills. Both Samantha and Nikki have hot sex all over Sam's luxurious property, and the sex scenes are pretty explicit and creative. Nikki should be happy in this arrangement, yet the viewer senses Nikki's restlessness. Instead of cementing the 'deal', Nikki inexplicably resorts to reckless acts, like having sex with another woman in Sam's bed whilst he thinks she's out of town...well, the Nikki-Samantha coupling continues, even as Nikki finds himself increasingly attracted to a waitress, Heather (Margarita Levieva) who is also hustling for money and stuff.
This is where the movie sort of veers off tangent and weakens - I found Anne Heche to be an interesting character. She is outwardly confident and controlling in the relationship with Nikki, but then she reveals her own set of insecurities by some of her actions. Unfortunately, when Heather comes into the picture, Heche's Samantha recedes into the background. The Nikki-Heather relationship doesn't altogether add up - Heather reveals certain character deficits which makes one wonder why Nikki is so smitten with her (empathy perhaps?). There are other facets of their relationship that is presented as is with no credible explanation. Ultimately, it's this lack on character development and in-depth exploration that lets this movie down, though it still makes for an interesting and engaging viewing experience.
I don't know why...not a big Ashton Kutcher fan..in fact I think he is a fluke. Though I have to admit...I've never seem him give a bad performance...and DUDE WHERE'S MY CAR is still one of my favorite films to laugh till I cry over. SPREAD is another re-telling of the broken dreams of those who move to LA or HOLLYWOOD to make it big and simply end up broke and on the streets...doing what ever they can to survive, another film that stands out with this theme is "WHERE THE DAY TAKES YOU" Ashton Kutcher plays a penniless Lothario who seduces wealthy women to become a "kept" man. The character he plays is vacuous, egomaniac, and narcissistic,and Ashton knocks it out of the park. SPREAD at its very best is unpredictable. Though the themes and some of the characters may seem familiar the direction they take, and the development of them is refreshingly original. Ann Heitch, another Hollywood insider I don't care for is simply amazing in the role of an exceedingly rich bachelorette who keeps the company of Kutcher's character with no allusions as to the relationship. SPREAD is a character study of youth, ambition, and empathy, growing old and success or the lack there of....and how these things can grow with you, or you can loose them. Well acted by all of the cast members SPREAD was a pleasant surprise..and I'm glad I took the time to check it out...it's not suited for all audiences as it does have a lot of adult subject matter in it, but none of it gratuitous and all works exceptionally well in this well made well told story of Dreams, and awakenings.
Some have written about how meaningful and articulate this film is, but once the credits roll it honestly feels like you just watched a soft core take on a few LA hedonists and nothing else.
Ashton and Heche signed on because of the "story" (making of docu) but considering every scene they have together involves the fun stuff, it makes you wonder. Anyway, we watch all of these shallow people muddle through their cons and bed campaigns as Ashton's character narrates his success strategy at this lifestyle, but in the end I really did not care about any of them. Apparently, (the cover art states) our main character is hoping to find something real, but that never happens as we hop from one party, bed conquest and sleepover to the next. But - they found a way to put 7.1 sound on this film - why of all films does this get the sound some strive to hear all year but only get once or twice?
The sound was outstanding. The opening sequence has a helicopter buzz hitting all seven channels, followed by a one-take night club scene (that was very well done: stairs, railing pans, reusing extras, etc.) where the music and voices travel all around you in eloquent fashion. The Blu clarity is outstanding as is the color; plenty of skin tones and dark contrasts against candlelight and such. The LA basin gets shown in all its glory several times in a decent skyline haze. The supplements are:
* 16:10 minute Living the Dream (making of). Plenty of production material, hows and whys. * 5:44 minute Behind the Scenes with Ashton. Actually the only Ashton part of this was everyone else talking about how great it is to work with him...yech. * 3:53 minute World According to Nikki.Read more ›
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