Spread


There’s a running joke here that the setting was once Peter Bogdanovich’s home, unfortunately this is about how creative this movie is in its ambit.

Positioning itself as a precautionary tale, where what goes around certainly comes back to bite you, Nikki (Ashton Kutcher) is a failed model who came to Los Angeles to live the high life. Intent on working as little as possible, he preys on older women, implementing a system to gain their trust and with it, entrance into their lives and beds. Landing himself the ideal situation with Samantha (Anne Heche), it’s not long before matters become complicated with the entrance of Heather (Margarita Levieva), a waitress of questionable means.

On paper, the story itself has some merit and a general sense of charm to it. Kutcher’s real life marriage echoed and subverted into something less savoury. Nikki is a potential anti-hero, completely self-absorbed, amoral and possessing an overall swagger and charm about him that heightens the stylistic appeal inherit within.

However ultimately its the script’s only charm is like the male lead itself, based within looks. This would not be an issue if it were not for the darker elements explored later on, which despite their worth are incapable of molding fluidly with the movie as a whole and its players. A vacuous illustration of LA and it’s inhabitants, largely establishing the lead’s empty existence inevitably leaves little time to further any redeemable characteristics in anyone or develop characters significantly enough to understand their motivations.

The portrayal of women leaves even more to be desired with Heche, despite looking phenomenal and not much older than Kutcher himself is portrayed as desperate and lonely, unable to be without him even after discovering his true nature. Being portrayed as over the hill with a body like that is insulting enough. Heather, with all her issues, general baggage and neuroses is nothing if not a cautionary tale in knowing when to read the warning signs. If more time had been given to either or both characters, it would have helped them at least come across as emotionally stable if nothing else but it is Nikki’s movie and as a result, we are constantly reminded of just how worthless he is.

Twists which are neither organic or fully explained, only reinforce an ending which lacks any cohesion or point to the entire exercise. These fly with such rapidity towards the conclusion, lurching desperately to find a realistic conclusion that it begins to drag soon after the darker elements are broached let alone examined to any material degree.

Stylized and vapid even at roughly 90 minutes, the idea was undoubtedly better than the outcome, which is ultimately as indefensible as the protagonist.

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  1. I hate it when good-lookng d-bags like Ashton Kutcher, get roles like this, just because their good-looking, and have appeared just as the stupid dude in movies.

      • thejackanory
      • May 11th, 2010

      It was an almost clever role for him, it’s just the writer/director I’d put it down to, also responsible for Fallam Foe which is equally as fond of tangents and grandiose ideas about making characters as obsessively odd as this one. Some not so bad ideas in it but it gets away from itself and doesn’t know what to do

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