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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

Reviewer Roundup
1.  Steve Rhodes review follows movie reviewmovie review
2.  Dustin Putman read the review movie reviewmovie reviewmovie reviewvideo review
3.  Harvey Karten read the review movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review
4.  Susan Granger read the review movie reviewmovie review

Review by Steve Rhodes
2 stars out of 4

THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT is a frustrating film that, while laughably bad, is based on an intriguing premise. Something like a bad version of BEDAZZLED but with nightmares instead of wishes and with Ashton Kutcher and Amy Smart (ROAD TRIP) replacing the much better lovebirds, Brendan Fraser and Frances O'Connor; the story concerns a guy named Evan Treborn (Kutcher) who suffers severe blackouts.

During these times in his own personal black hole, bad, really bad things happen to Evan and his buddies: Kayleigh, Lenny and Tommy. (John Patrick Amedori plays Evan at age 13 and Logan Lerman plays him at age 8. Smart plays the grownup Kayleigh.) When Evan wakes -- with a bad headache -- he sees the disasters which have just occurred and for which he is frequently blamed. The movie's overcooked plot and it's penchant for sudden loud noises will undoubtedly give you headaches too.

The story gets more convoluted still when Evan realizes that, by reading in his old journals and concentrating on the past, he can go back in time and "fix" the problems of his childhood. Since one of these problems caused the death of a friend, there is motivation for his time travel. (His father, whose permanent home is the loony bin, suffers the same affliction as his son, but this whole part of the story line is a narrative dead end.)

Yes, you guessed it! Altering the past messes up the present in truly horrible ways. Even Tommy, the demented little kid whom we witness hitting people hard with lead pipes and burning a dog alive, changes in each iteration, as does his sister Kayleigh, a homely girl who appears destined to work at a dead-end job at the local diner.

Every time you're just about ready to give up completely on this schlocky movie with its ridiculous lines and sloppy logic, it up and does something worthwhile that sucks you back in. But, not to worry, you'll soon be laughing at it, and I do mean "at" it again. It may come as no surprise when I tell you the credentials of the filmmakers. THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT is written and directed by Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber, whose only other credits are as the writers of FINAL DESTINATION 2. This second effort of theirs is much better than their first but that isn't exactly a huge compliment.

THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT runs 1:53. The film is rated R for "violence, sexual content, language and brief drug use" and would be acceptable for teenagers.

Copyright 2004 Steve Rhodes

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