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The Butterfly Effect

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: The Butterfly Effect

Starring: Ashton Kutcher, Amy Smart
Director: Eric Bress
Rated: R
RunTime: 113 Minutes
Release Date: January 2004
Genres: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Thriller

*Also starring: Kevin Schmidt, Eric Stoltz, Elden Henson, Melora Walters, John Patrick Amedori, Cameron Bright, William Lee Scott, Brandy Heidrick, Ethan Suplee, Grant Thompson

Review by Susan Granger
2 stars out of 4

Ashton Kutcher punk'd his doubters, scoring top box-office numbers with this time-travel thriller. Now that doesn't mean the guy can act. So far, all indications show he can't. But it does confirm his celebrity status as a TV star and the highly publicized companion of Demi Moore.

Based on the Chaos Theory premise that a butterfly flapping its wings in a garden can cause a typhoon half-a-world away, the story features Kutcher as Evan Treborn, a college student who is haunted by repressed memories. From age seven, he's been experiencing blackouts during periods of high emotional stress. Since he's a psychology major, he's determined to discover why. This leads him into an alternate reality where he re-lives childhood horrors - like nearly being strangled to death, having his beloved pet terrier tied up in a canvas bag and set on fire, and being forced to participate in a child pornography video by the abusive father (Eric Stoltz) of Kayleigh (Amy Smart) a childhood friend who, later on, commits suicide. Evan figures if he can travel back on the twisted time/space continuum to his younger self, he can change his behavior in small ways that will alter his sordid history. Sound confusing? It isn't. Sound creepy? It is. Writers/directors Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber utilize an intriguing, supernatural yet overly simplistic concept that revolves around chance and the consequences of the choices we make.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "The Butterfly Effect" is a weird 5. Traditionally, late January/early February has been the dumping ground for mediocre, low-budget pictures geared to attract a diversion-starved audience that's already seen the Oscar contenders. So time will tell if curiosity makes off-beat "Butterfly" continue to flutter in the vast winter wasteland.

Copyright 2004 Susan Granger

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