Spread Melts into Sloggy Comeuppance Tale

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Spread
Directed by David Mackenzie
Anchor Bay Films
Opens August 14

Broke-ass hustler Nikki (Ashton Kutcher, who also produced) may not have a home or a car, but he does possess "six inches and a pretty face," in the words of his latest conquest, Samantha (Anne Heche), a 40-ish corporate lawyer with a fantastic house in the Hollywood Hills. Director David Mackenzie, best known for 2003's coitus-heavy Young Adam, and first-time screenwriter Jason Hall make sure Nikki's half-footer services Samantha (before she has vaginal-rejuvenation surgery) in many different positions on several pieces of furniture—scenes that generate about as much heat as reading Alex Witchel's recent obsessive recapitulation of Heche getting her hair and makeup done in The New York Times Magazine. Nikki, like fellow L.A. opportunist Joe Gillis in Sunset Boulevard, provides first-person voiceover, with Kutcher's drone registering as neither sardonic send-up nor consistently fanged takedown of Lotusland. Instead, as Nikki falls for Heather (Margarita Levieva), a player herself, Spread becomes a sloggy, tepid comeuppance tale. Though the end credits feature an inspired bit of nastiness, Spread might best be remembered for Nikki's horrible kept-man fashion sense: His keffiyeh and skinhead suspenders are a far cry from Richard Gere's Armani suits in American Gigolo—and Joe Dallesandro's skin-hugging raglan T-shirts and polyester pants in Heat.

 
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