The Butterfly Effect

A Film Review By Jason L. King

Rating: Rated R for violence, sexual content, language and brief drug use 
Starring:Ashton Kutcher, Amy Smart, Ethan Suplee 
Directed By:Eric Bress, J. Mackye Gruber 

Final Grade: 

The Human mind may be one of the world’s greatest mysteries. There is no telling what the Human mind can perceive or achieve. Just when one thinks that no one could go any further; some great mind achieves new things and extends the boundaries of the human mind for the next great mind. But what if the power of the human mind becomes dangerous?

Ashton Kutcher’s latest film, The Butterfly Effect questions that very thought. Ashton plays Evan Treehorn, a young man who has had a very troubled past. He is prone to blackouts and has suppressed most of his unhappy childhood memories. But as he grows older he starts digging up his past after the death of his childhood girlfriend. Digging through his own Journals he has written since age 7, Evan starts to believe that he can change his past be revisiting suppressed memories and “changing” the outcome. However Evan soon learns when you mess with the past, the future sometimes takes some very unlikely changes as well.

I’d have to say I was impressed with Ashton in this flick. The pretty boy from Iowa has been the butt of lot jokes on this site in the past, and he starred in two films last year that made my worst list for the year 2003 (Just Married, My Boss’s Daughter). But I admit that I may have been too harsh on our Iowa boy, there is some hope for him yet. Ashton gives this role his all, departing from the boyish charmer he normally plays. Somewhere far beyond that money making pretty face is an actor who with more experience will be a decent actor. However, the lack of serious roles shows in the Butterfly Effect, and we see Ashton slipping almost in and out of “great acting” and most of the time finds him just doing a mediocre job. This film however, is a pivotal point for Kutcher, it may be his chance to depart from his typecast teen heartthrob, leave his boyish “Punk’d” image and step into some serious roles in the next few years. It will be interesting to see if he is able to do that.

Ashton’s acting aside, we don’t see much coming from the supporting cast. None of them really stand out as great performances, though all of them get the job done. If any of the performances are notable it would be Ethan Suplee’s (Mallrats, American History X, Cold Mountain) who plays Evan’s Heavyset Goth Roommate, but even his role isn’t anything that shakes things up a lot.

What does shake things up is the plot. The story starts off at a near drudging pace, not really going anywhere at all, and then blasts into bizarre plot about halfway through. The Nice thing about the Butterfly Effect is that if you can sit through the first parts without nodding off, the second half will pull you in and not let go. I could easily sit here and tear apart the plot; but then again nothing is perfect. There are a few holes in the story, a few moments that with careful thought you start to think would not have happened that way, but all in all with a little suspension of disbelief you can let all of that slide. We can’t really say anything when it comes to directing. It isn’t well done, but it isn’t bad either. It’s straight down the middle mediocrity at it’s best. The film doesn’t delve into special effects much, but the “vibrating” room effect they give use is kind of interesting as well as a few others. But still, neither of these is really anything to write home about.

In the end, It’s a film that deserves to be recognized, but won’t be remembered. What may have been a great career move for Kutcher will probably be forgotten in no time at all. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check it out. For a January movie, this one is fairly solid when it comes to enjoyment value. And in the end, As a moviegoer most of the time “Just Being Entertained” is what it is truly all about. 

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