With "Shampoo" and "American Gigolo" now distant memories, the time evidently seemed ripe for another Hollywood stud movie. Despite Ashton Kutcher's believability as an older woman's kept boy, "Spread" isn't a patch on those previous films, squandering initial goodwill on a forced, desultory final act. Kutcher's name and some fairly hot action give this a viable shot at a theatrical fling, but staying power is suspect.
The initial appeal of "Spread" is that the voiceover commentary of airhead Nicki (Kutcher), promises to expose the inner workings of these guys' mysterious minds. As he makes the party rounds one night, Nicki goes on and on about his predatory calculations: how he sizes up his prey, what poses and attitudes he strikes and how to snare a rich older woman so she'll support him even if he misbehaves with young babes.
If such uncensored self-revelation had persisted throughout the movie, Brit director David Mackenzie and writer Jason Dean Hall might have brought something fresh to the table with this all-too predictable cautionary tale; why not make a film about a guy who really does have it all figured out, rather than about a cocky young hustler who just thinks he does and requires a comeuppance to pay the price for his arrogance?
The movie's flash and Nicki's audacious juggling of hot little numbers are distracting for a while. Looking for the easy life, lanky, diffident Nicki latches on to Samantha ( Anne Heche), a lady in her early 40s with a fabulous Hollywood Hills home, well preserved looks, obvious resources and a pulsing libido.
Once she's hooked, Samantha takes off for New York for a few days, whereupon Nicki promptly throws a big party at her house. The randy interludes between Kutcher, Heche and others goes beyond the Hollywood norm.
But the film's downward spiral starts as soon as the plot machinery kicks in; Samantha and Nicki argue and screw their way toward the inevitable split, Nicki falls for a female version of himself, Heather (Margarita Levieva), then wonders where he went wrong. All that's missing is a wrap-up theme song, "What's It All About, Nicki?"Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times