Let’s consider Ashton Kutcher’s body of work to date. He’s most noted for playing the loveable doofus in Dude, Where’s My Car and Just Married. They’re throwaway romantic comedies, right? Therefore an Ashton Kutcher movie shouldn’t contain child pornography, animal torture, mental institutions or prison sex. But the Butterfly Effect does – and more. Consider yourself warned.
Kutcher’s character, Evan Treborn, suffered from mysterious blackouts throughout his childhood that conveniently left him with few memories of the traumatic things that happened to him and his group of friends Lenny, Tommy and Kalley. Years later while at university, he starts to read through the journals he kept at the time, and becomes determined to put the pieces together. After visiting Lenny and Kalley, Evan discovers that he has the ability to travel back in time. After his first trip back to the past to confront Tommy and Kalley’s perverted father (played by an ultra creepy Eric Stoltz), Evan wakes up in the present day as a frat boy with a seemingly perfect life. However, like the theory of the Butterfly Effect – that something as tiny as the flutter of a pair of butterfly wings can eventually cause a hurricane – Evan soon realizes that he messed up and must go back again to correct his friends’ lives, but he has no way of predicting exactly what is going to happen.
Kutcher does a perfectly adequate job as a ‘serious’ actor, and the movie deserves more respect than its pathetic trailer (complete with Staind soundtrack) gives it. If you can sit through the grueling first half hour, you’ll discover a movie that’s not dissimilar to the more “arthouse” thinking movies like Momento. The child actors are excellent; the premise of the movie is fascinating, and the story chilling.
Directed by Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber