The Butterfly Effect

Half-baked time travel tale gets lost

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OPENS APRIL 30, CERT 15, 139 MINS

This is Ashton Kutcher’s stab at changing his image. Half-baked ideas about chaos theory, developmental psychology and genetics loom large when Kutcher’s college student Evan discovers that he can travel back to his troubled past by reading his old diary. This allows him to fiddle with history to sweeten his future and that of his childhood friends. And what a childhood it is: death, home-made bombs, a loopy father, and a nasty experience playing make-believe with a friend’s dad and his video camera.

Kutcher and the film’s writer/directors Eric Bress and J Mackye Gruber (the team behind Final Destination 2) were obviously hoping that the film’s scientific mysticism would achieve the Donnie Darko effect, but it begs too many questions to be taken seriously. Kutcher can’t cope with tragedy, either; the more taut the drama, the less credible he becomes. Were The Butterfly Effect less vain, less pretentious, all this wouldn’t matter so much. It’s really just Back To The Future without the laughs.

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