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Nikki (Ashton Kutcher) isn’t a gigolo. He’s a sexual grifter, a fun-loving, freeloading hipster who understands his greatest assets are his looks and sexual prowess, which he uses to charm his way into the hearts of the city’s richest women and enjoy their lifestyle. Nikki gets a free place to live, fantastic gifts, A-list access, and plenty of sex. The women get to feel young, beautiful, and utterly fulfilled in the bedroom. It’s a mutually beneficial set-up... That is, until Nikki is forced to choose between love and money, and decide whether he can live on his own once and for all in the hopes of finding something real.
For more about Spread and the Spread Blu-ray release, see Spread Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on November 2, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Ashton Kutcher, Anne Heche, Margarita Levieva, Sebastian Stan, Ashley Johnson, Sonia Rockwell
Director: David Mackenzie (I)
» See full cast & crew
Spread Blu-ray Review
Spread out and enjoy this latest release from Starz.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, November 2, 2009
Nice spread, man.
No matter the subject, no matter the actors, no matter the setting, it's nice to see a movie that goes against the grain and dares to look at an otherwise trite story from a different perspective. Spread does just that, the movie playing the game of role reversal with the young, attractive male luring seductive and rich women not only into a night of pleasure but an extended stay in their lavish "spreads." Director David Mackenzie's Spread, despite its gender role reversal scheme, seems primed to do little more than follow its lead character's exploits, populate the film with lavish locations, and allow the camera to linger on naked bodies. It does just that, but beneath the surface, and slowly but surely, a soul begins to emerge that takes the movie to unexpected places that both shatter audience expectations and make Spread a surprisingly original movie when all is said and done, even if the first two acts do stay firmly entrenched in formula.
A nobody from nowhere, Nikki (Ashton Kutcher, What Happens in Vegas), is living the dream in Los Angeles. He's homeless and without a job, but he does have one asset that supersedes all in the City of Angels: good looks. Who needs employment when excitable, lonely, and seductive women open their homes and hearts to his wily charms? Moving from woman to woman, "spread" to "spread," and free lunch to free lunch, his latest conquest is an older woman named Samantha (Anne Heche, Donnie Brasco) who plays hard-to-get but eventually succumbs to Nikki's fail-proof scheme. Living the high life in her hilltop home that once belonged to Peter Bogdanovich, Nikki seems to have everything figured out, until he meets a woman named Heather (Margarita Levieva) who turns down his advances and sees past his good looks, charm, and pre-planned strategies. Working overtime to seduce his latest conquest, will the extra effort lead Nikki to see more than a one-night stand in a seemingly nobody L.A. waitress?
Though Spread stays within genre confines -- at least until the story is turned on its head -- it manages to remain fresh and interesting enough to keep the movie flowing and build up its lead character until the inevitable crash that provides the film the crux of the story. Spread may or may not be the most realistic film in the world, but once the high life gives way to a harsh reality, it takes on a subtly dark and depressing tone -- even in the face of two acts that paint its main character as something of a heartless and thankless slime ball -- that proves more lifelike than the extravagant locations and upscale lifestyles that Nikki enjoys at the expense of all-too-trusting women. Ashton Kutcher delivers a surprisingly strong performance; he seems in his element while living it up with barely any clothes on and surrounded by equally naked women, but when his life takes a U-turn back towards reality, Kutcher digs deep to provide the film a soul that sells the character as a good person, even in the face of all the wrongs he's done prior.
Spread Blu-ray, Video Quality
Spread moves in on Blu-ray with a high quality 1080p transfer framed in its original 2.39:1 aspect ratio. Crisp, sharp, and colorful throughout, the transfer reflects the glitzy and glamorous lifestyle of its characters nicely. The color palette is rich and inviting, and whether focusing on the clean lines and plush light-colored furnishing of Samantha's home or the beautiful blue swimming pool water out back, there's no shortage of visual eye candy throughout the film. Colors do take on a slightly warm tint, and as a result, flesh tones appear with a slight orange push. Blacks are solid and deep, perhaps looking just a shade too bright in a few scenes but otherwise beautifully rendered. Along with a strong sense of depth and space, Spread's Blu-ray transfer sports excellent detail throughout; from the tiles lining Samantha's swimming pool to the various appointments both in high dollar homes and low rent houses, viewers will note textures and small nuances that bring every scene to realistic life. Rounded out by the retention of a subtle layer of grain, Spread represents another quality visual release from Starz.
Spread Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Spread features a high quality Dolby TrueHD 7.1 lossless soundtrack. It's surprisingly active for a movie with a premise that promises more dialogue than action, but this lossless track delivers plenty of goods that make it a quality listen and a fine companion for the film. Music reproduction is its strongest asset; notes are crisp through the entire range, and the low end frequently enjoys an aggressive presence in several scenes, particularly those taking place in clubs where prodigious bass is the norm. With a full surround presentation and a rattling low end, listeners will feel transported to the club floor in each such scene. Ambience is excellent, too; an external shot outside an airport features the din of jet engines and passing cars, while more low-key atmospherics -- for instance background chatter and clanking dishes inside a diner -- create pleasing and comfortably lifelike locations. Also featuring faultless dialogue reproduction, Spread sounds great on Blu-ray.
Spread Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Spread sets up shop on Blu-ray with a decent collection of extras. First is a commentary track with Actor/Producer Ashton Kutcher and Actors Anne Heche and Margarita Levieva. As expected of a talent-based commentary, this one begins with a relaxed and rather informal tone, offering some scattered insights amongst mostly light observations that don't add much to the Spread experience. As the commentary moves on, however, the participants do manage to offer a few good tidbits that take viewers inside the heads of the characters. Picture-in-Picture -- Urban Sprawl: Los Angeles in 'Spread' delivers a video-based commentary/behind-the-scenes piece that looks at the many sets and locations seen in the film. Also included are plenty of behind-the-scenes shots that further reinforce the work behind the set design. The piece is hosted by Production Designer Cabot McMullen and Set Decorator Beth Wooke. Living the Dream -- The Making of 'Spread' (1080p, 16:10) is a basic interview piece that features cast and crew recalling the themes of the story and their experiences working on the movie, intercut with clips from the film and behind-the-scenes footage. Behind the Scenes with Ashton Kutcher (1080p, 5:44) features the cast discussing the pleasure of working with the star. The World According to Nikki (1080p, 3:53) features Ashton Kutcher sharing the secrets of the high life in Los Angeles. Also included is the Spread theatrical trailer (1080p, 2:23) and an additional 1080p trailer for Sunshine Cleaning. Disc two of this set contains a Windows-only digital copy of Spread.
Spread Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Something of a tale of two films, Spread proves passably interesting during its first two acts but takes a turn for the better once things get worse for the main character. Though star Ashton Kutcher seems right at home living it up, it's when his character finds himself down that his performance truly rises past the easy and mundane; he shows a necessary range of emotion that leaves the audience caring for his character despite his wayward lifestyle while wondering if he can find a second chance at the real life that's slipped on by while living it up in some of Los Angeles' finest "spreads." This Starz/Anchor Bay Blu-ray release features high quality video and audio transfers in addition to a standard collection of bonus materials. Spread is worth checking out.
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Spread Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Anchor Bay Announces Spread Blu-ray - September 22, 2009
Anchor Bay Home Entertainment has announced that they will bring the Ashton Kutcher film 'Spread' to Blu-ray on November 10th, day-and-date with the DVD release. In the film, Kutcher plays a gigolo who is forced to choose between love in money. Video will be presented ...
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