I remember going to see American Gigolo in 1980 and being disappointed when the film turned out to offer sleek alienation, angled white architecture, Richard Gere looking mannequin-fabulous in Armani — everything but good old down-and-dirty sex. Spread, starring Ashton Kutcher as an L.A. lady-killer with no job and no home, who moves in with the women he beds until they figure out he’s using them, doesn’t repeat American Gigolo‘s high-minded mistake. It’s full of tawny writhing bodies, one of which belongs to Anne Heche, in one of those thankless, lonely-corporate-vixen-looking-for-love roles. She hooks up with Kutcher, and even after she discovers him cheating on her, she doesn’t kick the bum out. Sex with this dude is just, you know, too hot.
In Spread, there’s no denying that Kutcher has the heartless sex appeal, the killer pickup moves, the conversation-as-market-tested-sound-bite manipulativeness of L.A. sleaze down pat. The whole movie is pat — very pleased with itself for being so up front about the ways of a 21st-century man-whore. I was with Kutcher’s portrayal of a sociopathic stud, until he met his match. That’s right: He tries to work his lewd magic on a girl (Margarita Levieva) who’s Just Like Him, at which point we have to spend the entire second half of the movie watching him develop ”feelings.” Is there anything soggier than a cad redeemed? C