|The Butterfly Effect (2004)
Starring: Ashton Kutcher, Amy Smart, John Patrick Amedori, Eric Stoltz, Melora Walters, Ethan Suplee
Director: Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber
“The Butterfly Effect,” Ashton Kutcher’s latest Hollywood project and breakthrough hopeful, is built upon a single basis of chaos theory which states that “the breeze generated by a butterfly wing can trigger a cyclone halfway around the world.” Ultimately, though, the film suffers through various plot holes and a weak second half.
Evan Treborn (John Patrick Amedori) has endured blackouts and memory lapses throughout his painful childhood and was advised to keep a journal of his life to help recall in their entirety tragic events like the burning of his dog, watching a woman and her baby being blown up by dynamite, and being part of a kiddie porn project filmed by his friend’s father (played by Eric Stoltz).
Now in college, a much older Evan (Ashton Kutcher) has overcome his past. One day, however, he begins to read through his journals and discovers that not only can he now understand each traumatizing event more clearly, but he can also go back to that memory and change it, therefore affecting the entire future. Evan jumps from memory to memory trying to perfect a future where both he and his friends are happy, but instead he only manages to make things worse for the people he cares about.
“Butterfly Effect” starts off visually disturbing, with a wickedly dark story that initially appears to have plenty of potential. Once Kutcher enters the equation, though, that potential quickly evaporates and the film slips into a hopeless downward spiral. But don’t be too quick to blame Ashton alone for this disappointment. In fact, he does a fairly decent job with his new look and the serious nature of the story, but he’s simply not given much to work with. The script eventually deteriorates into no more than a tired rehash of the first half of the film and its pseudo-originality soon melts away into a puddle of redundancy.
The teasers were amazing and the gossip was encouraging, but the finished product just doesn’t deliver. If I could go back in time and change the future, I wouldn’t let my expectations for this film get the best of me. Overall, “The Butterfly Effect” represents an amazing effort by the cast and crew, but it just doesn’t pull through with such a thin plot and overly complex idea.