by Laura Tucker
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First off, Spread was way more graphic than I ever imagined it would be. I was expecting a romantic comedy of sorts with some tantalizing shots of Ashton Kutcher thrown in. What I got was a whole lot more of Kutcher, as well as costar Anne Heche, than I’d ever expected to see.
Kutcher stars as Nikki, a gigolo, kept man, however you want to phrase it. He talks of arriving in Los Angeles green, with dreams of living the Van Halen rock star type of life with rock music and women in bikinis. The problem is every other guy arrives with the same dreams, so with no great skills, other than his great looks, he turned to making a living off the women he meets. I hoped at this point I’d see more out of this Kutcher product. He does so many interesting social experiments on his reality shows, such as Beauty and the Geek and True Beauty, that I wanted to see him do the same with Nikki. I wanted to see him find something more than sex and money. I wanted him to find love an the meaning of life. But there I go trying to turn it into a romantic comedy again.
Nikki is basically a kept man going from rich woman to rich woman, and being homeless in between gigs. He’s a grifter. Looking desperately for the next woman/trick, he sees the still very attractive, older Samantha (Heche), and knows immediately she has the money he needs. He talks his way into her house, and doesn’t take no on his way up to the bedroom. She knows exactly what he is and does, but allows it to go on, because she seems to hope she can turn it around to get something more of him than she ever will.
All is going well for Nikki sponging off of Samantha until he meets Heather (Margarita Levieva) working at a coffee shop. He falls for her, but she seems to know his game all too well. He gets caught for what could be the first time between his easy life and what he really desires, and doesn’t know what to do. That’s where the crux of the movie comes in once he starts to make choices of his own and the struggle to do what’s right no matter how hard it is.
It ended up being a journey that I enjoyed taking with Kutcher, and it had nothing to do with him spending good portions of the film undressed and having sex. Like Kutcher himself says in the film extras on the DVD, what’s uncomfortable about the sexuality in the movie is Nikki using people so much, and for him it was more uncomfortable than the idea of being naked. And right there is the Kutcher I was waiting to find throughout the film.
Spread was released on DVD and Blu-Ray on Nov. 10.
Laura Tucker Laura Tucker is the webmaster of Reality Shack, and its accompanying Reality Shack Blog, and is a freelance writer providing reviews of movies and television, among other things, at Viewpoints. She is also an Associate Instructor and 2nd dan black belt in tae kwon do with South Elgin Martial Arts. Laura can be reached at LauraBelle@realityshack.com
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