Monday, January 19, 2009

The Less than Sunny Side on Spread

Warning -this post contains negative thoughts!

While many of the smaller blog reviews I've seen so far have been generally positive about Spread, along with the positive come the negative, and a few clouds cast bad shadows in their reviews, like this downright painful piece Owen from Entertainment Weekly wrote:

"The whole movie is pat -- very pleased with itself for being so up front about the bankrupt ways of a 21st century California man-whore. I was with Kutcher's portrayal of a sociopathic stud, until the character meets his match. That's right: He tries to work his lewd magic on a girl who's Just Like Him -- at which point the joke is on us, because we have to watch him develop "feelings." Spread gets worse as it grows more sincere. Which, come to think of it, makes it a lot like American Gigolo."

Some unnamed blogger at the NY Times wrote despairingly:
"But then Mr. Kutcher’s character and the movie had to go and grow a heart. He and his female counterpart thrust their way to a kind of love, but the need to signal just how pure and lovely this new thing was orompted the director David Mackenzie to cue a beach scene and a song that sounded like it was lifted from “Grey’s Anatomy.” People began leaving at the Eccles this point, not in droves, but enough to know what was coming."

UPDATE: The Hollywood Reporter:
It's understandable that Sundance has to include a few star-driven items on its schedule to fill the big theaters and help pay the bills, usually in the premiere section, but "Spread" with Ashton Kutcher marks one of the low points of the festival. The story of a handsome young stud out to enjoy the good and easy life in L.A. by servicing older women (and plenty of others on the side), it comes off as an unpleasant, unrealistic morality tale. Loaded with music and pretty bodies, the film has a chance to lasso a young, indiscriminate audience of Kutcher fans...As written by Jason Dean Hall and directed by David Mackenzie, the film strikes few authentic notes, though it is loaded with a pretty good soundtrack of pop tunes, probably intended as another selling point.

But for me, there was one from the Obsessed with Film guys who also wondered on the notable absence of director David Mackenzie at Sundance. While I think perhaps a private family matter kept him away, or development on Stain in the Snow or one of the many projects Sigma has coming this year, or hell even simple lack of funds, I believe he will be there at later premieres of the film at say LA or London. But this was not fun to read:

"While Kutcher is aptly cast physically, his performance (which includes lots nude romping with stunning women) is lackluster and the two-dimensional character shares none of the personality or humour that has made Kutcher himself so famous. For me, Kutcher is the male equivalent of Cameron Diaz,; an actor who does brilliantly with a very specific genre, but not does not have the flexibility to play roles which require complex layers or emotions (not to belittle his accomplishments in the now cult classic DUDE WHERE’S MY CAR…).

However, the problems do not rest solely on the shoulder of producer and star Kutcher, but also lie in the flat dialogue of the script, the concept of which seems to be blatantly lifted from the Audrey Tatou film HORS DE PRIX which I saw recently on an airplane. Unlike the French version, the two leads in SPREAD are completely unlikeable and their romance feels more like a caricature than anything else.

With the exception of a strong performance by Nikki’s sugar momma played by Anne Heche and a very original ending credit sequence (the only part of the film that showed any continuity with MacKenzie’s previous work), this film felt like a waste of time and resources, which may explain why MacKenzie was mysterious absent from his own film’s world premiere. I’m seriously hoping that he is holed up somewhere far from L.A and working on a project more worthy of his talents and our two hours."


  1. Thanks for the reviews, good and bad, for Spread. Yesterday I tried to post the earlier one here as soon as I read it, but I could not remember my password for google - believe me, it is one I should have remembered!

    All David's films have had mixed reviews and I have loved them all so i will make up my own mind when I get the chance to see the film! My only concern with this one is that David might have had less control in the finished film, as I think was the case with Asylum. I also wondered how the US audience would react, and whether making the film for a US audience might make a difference.

    Overall, the reviews seem to be good.


  2. Hi Caroline!

    Agree quite strongly with you on making up my own mind on the film, despite me reading and posting these reviews, and any when it comes to David.I dont believe in blind devotion, but he is a director I believe in and enjoy, plus criticism is just part of the deal so you have to take it-understand tho why most prefer to ignore and leave these reviews of any sort (good and bad!)

    Thanks again for stopping by and your continued nice work on the bogglies too! Appreciate it all so very much!