Spread – Blu-ray Review
By Frankie Dees Nov 23, 2009, 14:59 GMT
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 ...more
One of the most obnoxious films I’ve seen in a while, ‘Spread’ can’t be seen as anything more than a vanity project for Ashton Kutcher - who is clearly trying for Richard Gere in ‘American Gigolo’ but ends up more Rob Schneider in ‘Deuce Bigalow’.
I can understand the possible intentions of trying to modernize something like ‘American Gigolo’ or Warren Beatty’s ‘Shampoo’ but the no-frills script by Jason Dean Hall, Kutcher’s lifeless performance and the slick but perfunctory direction from David Mackenzie make the film as vacuous as its protagonist.
Kutcher stars as Nikki, a hustling LA playboy who preys for wealthy middle-aged women at various clubs who he can sexually pleasure while being provided a luxurious lifestyle. Nikki narrates us through his rather limited insights on LA life and how to score such prizes with Samantha (Anne Heche), a Hollywood Hills-residing lawyer, being his latest cougar to use.
I will say there’s an inordinate amount of sex scenes that go beyond the usual Hollywood fare with Anne Heche among others baring more than just their bad taste in scripts so if steamy sex scenes that don’t quite qualify as hardcore is your thing, you could do worse.
So Nikki and Samantha continue to screw while he lounges around her extravagant home and this seems to go on for half the film. When she’s in New York, he throws a party and she catches him with another woman but nothing much happens because of it.
Eventually, Nikki meets his female equivalent, a hot, local waitress (Margarita Levieva) who doesn’t show him much attention at first but then gives in to his constant advances. Falling for her, he soon realizes he might just have become the victim of his own sly game. Sad story, huh?
Kutcher approaches Nikki as some sort of swaggering lothario that has only one sleepy-eyed expression and even when the script calls for more, that seems to be all that Kutcher can manage. Adopting a gravelly accent to try and man up the scarf-wearing Nikki is also a miscalculation and makes Nikki come off as even more loathsome than he already was.
Although Kutcher isn’t the main problem, the biggest issue I had is with the completely and utterly aimless, meaningless script. Nothing happens for the first half of the film where the filmmakers clearly try to cover this fact up with overly active sex scenes.
Later, when the script decides to try and, y’know, tell the story, it’s too late because we’ve gone through half the film hating our main character. That’s a big problem when you don’t want redemption for the protagonist.
The 2.35:1 1080p AVC encode does a good job showing off the sun-drenched L.A. locations with fine detail and mostly natural skintones. We also get a TrueHD 7.1 mix here that’s quite good so tech-wise at least, there’s much to complain about.
Special Features start off with an audio commentary with Ashton Kutcher, Margarita Levieva and Anne Heche and is only interesting in the fact of some anecdotes they drop that hint at a much deeper story that ends up on screen. ‘Urban Sprawl: Los Angeles in ‘Spread’ is a picture in picture track that lends ‘Spread’ some credibility from a production and set design standpoint.
‘Living the Dream: The making of ‘Spread’ is a fifteen minute making of with the usual interviews and behind the scenes footage. ‘Behind the Scenes with Ashton Kutcher’ shows Kutcher being much more interesting behind the camera. ‘The World According to Nikki’ is a short featurette with Kutcher as Nikki proffering some LA lifestyle advice. A theatrical trailer and a digital bonus copy round things out.
Almost a complete waste of time and money despite the star/filmmakers best intentions. The tech specs are fine so a possible recommendation for huge Kutcher and Heche fans desperate for a little nudity.