Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

At the time Iím writing this I am preparing for a trip to Los Angeles in a weeks time to attend the E3 convention to work the rooms, attend some parties, broker some deals and if Iím lucky show up on TruTV running from the LAPD. By the time you get around to reading this I will probably have been back from my trip for a couple of years but waddayagonnado? So I figure what better way to prepare for a trip to Los Angeles than watch this movie ĎSpreadí, a Los Angeles centric film about empty, beautiful people engaged in empty, pointless acts.

Nikki (Ashton Kutcher) is one fine looking man. Thatís not me talking, thatís Nikki talking. Nikki narrates his story as he informs us how he uses this oppressive beauty of his to run through female after female after female and to support his hedonistic lifestyle. You see Nikki has no car, no home, no job and gets by in this life by leeching off the largesse of others. Early on we lock in on Nikki needing a place to stay navigating his way through a bevy of young, tight L.A. beauties looking for a particular mark who appears in the form Samantha (Anne Heche). Thin and beautiful but perhaps a little past her prime, Nikki sizes her up as a woman of means, convinces her to take him home, gives her some nasty sex and now heís a kept man and homeless no longer.

The next chunk of this movie consists of Nikki giving us the finer points of taking advantage of people, observing Nikki engage in sexual acts with various lovely women, especially SamanthaÖ to the point if I never see Ashton Kutcherís ass or Anne Hecheís tits again, Iíd be good with that. But then he meets Ďherí. There has to be a Ďherí of course and her would be a lovely pancake waitress named Heather (Margarita Levieva). If Iíve learned one thing in recent times itís that dating pancake waitresses can be costly. Now we donít know what Heatherís problem is but she is completely bullet proof to Nikkiís awesome game which is apparently something Nikki has never experienced before so he makes it his LIFEíS MISSION to bed the pancake waitress who drives a $120,000 Porsche.

Turns out our pancake waitress is a hustler, user and abuser just like Nikki and while their relationship starts out rocky, eventually love will grow, or fester as it were as this movie changes its tone and attempts to become a tragic love story. It would fail at this.

What we have here with ĎSpreadí is a movie about beautiful people who lack substance. I can relate in a way because admittedly I am pretty damned good looking, though my beauty isÖ how do you sayÖ unconventional. Itís so unconventional in fact that most people donít even recognize it. To be honest with you I found the first forty or so minutes of this movie pretty enjoyable, despite the fact its completely soulless, mainly because itís raunchy, a little subversive, Ashton Kutcherís narration was often funny plus the part fit very snugly with what Ashton Kutcher excels at as an actor.

Oh but then director David McKenzie tried to give this soulless, empty, vacuous movie of his a soul. Some meaning. Somewhere along the line the character of Nikki would need to learn that his way of life is not the right way to live this life. He couldíve started changing his life by not wearing those stupid ass suspenders and maybe stop tossing that scarf around his neck. That wouldíve endeared me to him a little bit more. But now we, the audience, are asked to give a damn about these people that this movie has setup up to be shallow, abhorrent and completely distasteful. I think that we are supposed to be happy that this pair of hustlers has Ďfoundí each other and we are supposed to invest our hopes that somehow their love will come together and they will be happy. The problem is that neither actor came remotely close to pulling this off. They might get together at the end or they both might get run down by an Amtrak train. Either way it didnít matter because you didnít give a rats ass what happened to these clowns. It would be shame if they died because they are both really good looking people, but thatís all they were in this movie and try as they might they couldnít rise up to be anything more than that.

Iím of the opinion that if somebodyís making a love story then at least one of your characters has to have some modicum of socially redeeming value to give your audience some invested interest in rooting for them. This movie wouldíve been much better served, the way these characters played out, in leaving out the Ďredemptioní angle and just have us observe Nikkiís messed up life and watching him run through more incredibly naÔve women until he gets stabbed in his sleep or something. THAT wouldíve been a pretty good movie. Yes, that movie would be equally soulless, vacuous and pointless but at least it wouldíve been consistent.

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