Directed By: David Mackenzie
Starring: Ashton Kutcher, Anne Heche, Margarita Levieva
Apparently this movie was originally called American Playboy which draws a comparison to the superb American Gigolo. This is no American Gigolo.
Usually I can write these reviews with no problems. It’s easy really I just watch the movie and write how I feel about it. But Spread has me baffled. After I watched the movie I had no idea how I felt about the film so I sat on it for a couple days. I thought about the story (which isn’t very good), the acting (that’s marginal at best) and the nudity (oh, there’s a lot) but none of it gave me anything to write about.
Spread introduces us to Nikki (Ashton Kutcher) who is a homeless gigolo in Hollywood. He gets by without a job by having sex with older wealthy women who take care of him. He knows he’s a good looking guy and makes no excuses for what he does. Kutcher was born to play this douche bag. That being said he still isn’t very convincing. Well, he definitely comes off as a douche bag but his portrayal as a gigolo isn’t convincing. And for some strange reason he’s rocking a Christian Bale rasp for the role. Why?
In the opening minutes of this movie Nikki goes to an L. A. hotspot and picks up Samantha (Anne Heche) with little or no effort, takes her home and essentially moves into her place after some hot(ish) sex. He then begins to spend her money and sleep with many younger women in her house. I was with the movie at this point, but then it changed.
One day Nikki meets Heather (Margarita Levieva) and the movie turns into a redemption story and this already mess of a movie completely falls apart. I think the real problem here is that the movie tries way too hard to be something it’s not. It really wants to be a modern American Gigolo but it’s not that cool. It really wants us to care about Nikki and his later problems but we don’t. And the heavy handed final scene is the perfect misstep for a movie full of missteps. No wonder the movie business is struggling right now.
I guess the thing that makes this movie so hard to watch is that it’s not a real movie. At best it is a series of scenes strung together by an almost non-existent storyline that doesn’t know what it wants to be. At worst it’s a self-aware exorcise in overacting and just plain missing the mark. Even Diablo Cody wouldn’t want her name attached to this script, and that’s saying a lot. In my opinion this movie would have played better as a comedy with a little drama thrown in. Hell, this movie is a comedy but only unintentionally.
Anamorphic Widescreen 2.40:1 ratio. Blu-Ray will help you see Ashton’s perfectly waxed ass a little better. It’s lower budget so there’s a bit of grain but colors are fairly vibrant and detial is inconsistant. It’s passable but not as strong an HD presentation as other Anchor Bay releases.
Dolby Surround 5.1, but it still doesn’t make Ashton’s throaty rasp sound good. The entire thing is center loaded with very little use of the surround speakers and there’s also not much of a dynamic range. Again for a low budget indie flick it’ll do.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
The packaging is pretty plain. And what is up with these slip covers that studios like to put over the clam shell? Do they really think it makes the dvd more appealing? All they really do is get damaged and ultimately wind up in the garbage.
The special features include three featurettes: Living the Dream – The Making of Spread, Behind the Scenes with Ashton Kutcher and The World According to Nikki. All three feed into the douche bag culture that is this movie the worst one being The World According to Nikki. If you want a “How To” on being a douche this is your bible. Or you could just watch re-runs of The Pick-Up Artist on VH-1. It’s your call really.
Oh, and there’s the obligatory audio commentary with the stars of the movie. Don’t waste your time.
If there was going be someone at Cinegeek that would like this movie it would be me. That didn’t happen. I really didn’t like this movie. Well, I liked half of it. Maybe a third of it was okay. I can’t decide. All I know is that it tries way too hard to redeem a character that isn’t likeable and really doesn’t grow beyond a tired old plot device. The only bright spot is the bizarre closing credits that run over a shot of a frog eating a mouse. It might be worth your money if Red Box has a copy.
Overall (Not an Average) 3/10
The Movie 3/10
The Video 5/10
The Audio 5/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 2/10
Overall (Not an Average) 3/10