out of Five
Running time: 97
Enjoyable, sharply written and beautifully shot LA drama with a career-best performance by Ashton Kutcher and a plethora of flesh-flashing sex scenes that ought to guarantee the film a healthy afterlife on DVD.
What's it all about?
Directed by David Mackenzie, Spread stars Ashton Kutcher as Nikki, a vacuous but attractive LA gigolo who routinely seduces rich, middle-aged women in order to live a luxurious poolside life in the Hollywood Hills. His latest conquest is high-powered lawyer Samantha (Anne Heche) but his luck runs out when she returns home early from a business trip and catches him with another woman.
Finding himself suddenly homeless, jobless and car-less, Nikki's problems get worse when his best friend Harry (Sebastian Stan) turns his back on him, having grown tired of always bailing him out. To make matters worse, Nikki finally meets his match when he falls for gorgeous waitress Heather (Adventureland's Margarita Levieva), only to discover that she's just as big a hustler as he is.
David Mackenzie (Young Adam, Hallam Foe) is known for his explicit sex scenes and, accordingly, the first half of Spread is a full-on Ashton Kutcher fuckfest, as he and a remarkably toned Anne Heche go at it like rabbits, ensuring the film a healthy DVD afterlife in the process. Kutcher delivers a career-best performance and manages to keep Nikki surprisingly likeable, even though, as even his friend (Rachel Blanchard) points out, he's basically a vacuous whore and a bit a of a shit to boot.
There's also terrific support from Anne Heche, while Margarita Levieva combines drop-dead gorgeousness with an intriguing air of sadness as Heather and promptly steals the film as a result. The plot is vaguely reminiscent of last year's Priceless and the excellent script pulls off some surprisingly emotional moments, such as undercutting Nikki's vacuousness by including an unexpectedly moving scene where he calls his mother.
In addition, there's a terrific soundtrack and Steven Poster's gorgeous cinematography makes full use out of some stunning LA locations. There are also a number of nice throwaway moments, such as Kutcher's rather brilliant Kermit the Frog impression.
In short, Spread is an enjoyable, well written and superbly acted drama that plays like a modern day update of films like Shampoo or American Gigolo. Great final shot, too. Highly recommended.