3.5ish out of 5 stars
Sexy, bittersweet and unforgiving, Spread is a racy bedroom tussle through a Hollywood dream. Despite the somewhat mis-leading preview, this edgy indie flick is anything but your standard chick-oriented romantic comedy. With a lot of heart - and a lot of bedroom antics - this is probably one of the better films I've seen in a quite a while.
Nikki (portrayed by Ashton Kutcher) is a homeless, jobless, playboy with big dreams, who uses his dubious charms and perfected sex skills to live off of rich beautiful women; sleeping his way into the Hollywood social elite. His most current target is Samantha (great performance from Anne Heche), a rich lawyer who spends most of her day away from her very lavish home. And Heather (beautifully done by Margarita Levieva) is the pretty young waitress that has Nikki all figured out.
At first, Nikki is a figure we all love to hate and hate ourselves in loving. But as the pressure of his own actions builds, and his world begins to unravel, we cannot help but feel for him as a human being. While there are funny and romantic moments within this film, it truly is about the price of being willing to do anything "for the dream of an easy life."
One of the best aspects of this film for me is that it doesn't play it safe. It's going to push buttons and make some people uncomfortable (heck, even I squirmed a bit). I think that's awesome! Not enough movies - and books for that matter - really resist the boundaries of their genres, their ratings, and the fact that this story does is refreshing.
Some have complained that this movie "makes women look bad." Or that this is a pointless story of people having sex. If you only watch the surface, and refuse to look deeper, maybe that's true. A more thoughtful look may reveal that each character is nuanced with good and bad qualities. And I think some are forgetting that this is a movie about morally flexible people - not just a bad guy with lots of stupid women who fall for him. Not one character, whether seen or unseen, is the epitome of good or bad. They are all flawed.
NOTE TO PARENTS: Don't take your 7 year olds to go see this! I couldn't believe it when I saw people taking their very young children to this film - it's a hard R (not for violence or swearing - but for sexual content). There is a lot of sex in this film, very graphic sex, so if that bothers you or if you're not going to be able to see past that, take a pass on this one.