I suppose Anton Kutcher must be handsome. He's tall and dark and every woman who approaches him seems to melt into some kind of amorphous plastic object that wobbles towards the nearest bed and begs him for commands.
He doesn't do a thing for me but his appearance, his pheromones, and the size of his apparatus seem to suit him well in La La Land. He puts everything he has into selling his looks and stamina to a rich lady like Anne Heche, who puts him up in her spacious modern flat overlooking the City of Angels. They sip expensive wine and nibble bonbons when they're not schtupping each other. Well, they have to do SOMETHING because the Kutcher character has the wit and sensitivity of a cucumber. He's recklessly selfish. His insights run along lines like these: "When a girl tells you you're not going to get anything, that's when you know you're going to get something." Heche returns home unexpectedly and finds him being serviced by a young blond wearing only a golden helmet while he watches Monday Night Football. I guess I ought to make it clear that although this is sometimes labeled a comedy, it's not. Heche tosses out all the fashionable clothes she's bought him, and then throws him out too.
This puts Kutcher on the street and he must hock a few of his more outrageous items from Prada in order to get along, while mooching off a male friend.
Then he runs into Margarita Levieva, a dark-eyed pretty thing who waits tables. She ignores his advances at first but he insinuates himself into her apartment, when he begins to put his usual moves on her. She insists he sleep on the couch so he doesn't get the wrong idea, but the light is no sooner out in her bedroom than he's creeping towards her in his skivvies complaining that the couch is too short, he's just going to slip in bed next to her, they're both adults, they can keep their hands off each other, and the baloney keeps grinding out, as in a factory. She agrees reluctantly. And I'm thinking, if she falls for this line, she's at least as stupid as he is. "I can feel you're smiling but I can't see it," he murmurs to her naked back. She rolls on her side and smiles openly at him. She's as stupid as he is.
Another conquest for Kutcher, whom I am, by this point, beginning not just to dislike but to hate with the kind of rubescent glow that only a hatred born of envy can generate.
I breathed a sigh of relief when Margarita turns out to have a rich fiancé back in New York. (He owns the Rangers.) She's not only as stupid as Kutcher but just as avaricious. But, now that the two poor people are in love, she flies back to New York to settle things with the wealthy fiancé who has been supporting her in Los Angeles. Kutcher finds he has trouble reaching her on the phone.
At this point, the story could have gone in one of two ways. (1) After several scenes of increasing tension, just when Kutcher is about to give up all hope, Margarita shows up, with an anxious smile, at his doorstep and they fall into each others' arms while a folk song about love swells up softly in the background. At that point, I would have walked out and sold my golden body to the nearest female bidder. OR (2) Margarita decides to stay in New York with Mister Right and Kutcher winds up sadder but wiser with a pedestrian job in Los Angeles.
The resolution lay behind Door Number Two, thank God. Yet, I still found it unsatisfactory in a way. Of course I was happy that Kutcher was able to reach Maslow's stage of self actualization. (He delivers groceries.) But real life in my experience doesn't work that way.
It's improbable that a man in his mid or late 20s who has been a shallow, self-interested sex fiend for all of his adult life is going to turn his entire character around because he's found someone as unprincipled as he is, and she's shown him what that looks like from the outside. He has a final exchange with Heche when he drops her groceries off. She asks how he's been. He smiles and says he's doing alright -- and he seems to MEAN it. It's a happy ending that sits on the film like a clown's cap on a performing seal. And as he drives his delivery truck away, there is a sappy love song on the sound track.
Kutcher's character is a dull man with no particular talent, intelligence, or sensibilities. He isn't evil. He's not even bad. He's simply empty except for his narcissism. He ought to be out there on the boardwalk in Venice, listening to rock on his Walkman, while doing capricious figures on roller skates. The best performances (and the best lines) are given to women, especially Anne Heche, who tells him in no uncertain terms where he stands on the life course. This movie could have been written by Tennessee Williams' ghost.
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