Looking up from my Economist newspaper and inbetween viewing of the West Wing I decided to slum it by watching Spread. A combination of snobbery and jealousy (which mortal wouldn't be jealous of the stunning looking cast in the movie living the carefree lifestyle). What I am about to say is difficult - it makes me feel dirty - but Spread was not all that bad!
We are immediately introduced to Nikki (played by Kutcher), he is about to leave his most recent conquest and cash cow, moving onto his next lady of means (lets keep this as classy as possible folks). At the party he engages in a Sex-Terminator style analysis of the older women on offer, detailing their err hidden treasures, the seduction techniques to be used and measures for success. He soon spots his target - Samantha. Now Nikki is set up for the first half of the movie as a moral vacuum, devoid of regret or remorse at his pumping woman, quite literally, for his keep. The film worked a little too well, for in the second half when he is trying to go through the redemption phase, we can't feel that much empathy for him. The cast line up to say what most of the viewers are probably thinking - he is easy on the eye, but blande in the extreme. When events lead to him being down on his luck not even the sobbing phone call to his mum makes us feel any sympathy for him. Even his sex scenes were devoid of emotion - I guess that disinterested look comes from being a Scientologist.
His apparently sugar-mommy, Samantha has a lot more depth (well at least as much as her very nice tiled hot-tub next to her swimming pool). While some may say Nikki took advantage of her, she rises to show him who's boss and who needs who. She is very much holding the whip. However that is balanced out by her apparent insecurities. What starts as fun ends with her becoming suspcious of Nikki and his exploits. The obligatory anxieties about ageing also come out as she goes for a vaginal tightening, the doctor cheerfully tells Nikki "you'll notice the difference".
The film ends on a note that see's Nikki facing his negative karma. The woman he eventually decides he wants - doesnt actually take him. He returns to Samantha's house only to discover his replacement (and a turn on the younger woman, Samantha has gone for the much younger man than Nikki, touche!). Its the ending of the film that really redeems the whole thing. There is a threat that Nikki is about to have his redemption but it is snatched away from him. A brave move in Hollywood which loves happy endings. Nikki is left living in his best friends apartment watching as a frog eats a dead mouse - very un-Disney!
The main message of the movie appears to be don't base all worth on good looks and fast living - tad rich considering the GAP mannequin cast.
But for a Wednesday night movie when you have work the next day - it isn't half bad. And if the plot doesn't interest you all that much, you can have fun drawing comparison with real life Kutcher and Moore, some parts of the film did have me thinking it may be a little too true to life.
PS. for fans of 90s soap Sunset Beach - keep an eye out for Sarah Buxton who played Annie. A little touch of nostalgia.