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Running Time:
113 minutes

Rating: R Restricted. Under 17 Requires Accompanying Adult.

Rating Explanation:
for violence, sexual content, language and brief drug use

Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review:
It's a frustrating film that, while laughably bad, is based on an intriguing idea, but just doesn't worl.

Additional Info:
DVD Features: Directors' cut of the film; Theatrical version of the film; Beyond the Movie features: The Science and Psychology of the Chaos Theory, The History and Allure of Time Travel, Fact Track; All-Access Pass features: filmmaker commentary by co-directors and co-screenwriters Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber, The Creative Process documentary, Visual Effects documentary; Storyboard gallery; Original theatrical trailer; DVD-ROM content: script-to-screen, image gallery, exclusive infinifilm content, and more

The Butterfly Effect
Evan Treborn (Kutcher), is a college psych major troubled by his childhood but unable to remember most of it because he keeps having blackouts. Tormented by his condition, he investigates the nature of memory, and soon finds himself able to transport himself back into the past by studying some old journals that a therapist once had him keep. In flashbacks, he remembers when he was a kid and his father (Eric Stoltz) was in a mental hospital. He recalls being traumatized by the abuse that his two best friends (Kayleigh and her older brother Tommy) got from their father. He also remembers when the three of them plus their friend Lenny, a pudgy kid from down the block, did a prank with some fireworks that turned out disastrously, although no one ever found out about that they were responsible. Then he and his mother moved away and he lost contact with his three young friends. Now he realizes the awful effect that his childhood experiences had caused to him and his friends, as well the genetic possibilities. So he decides to use his newfound power to go back into the past and change things to achieve a better outcome for himself and his friends. But every time he does it, the results come out badly. Again and again the frazzled guy takes his trip to some earlier point, but each time he tries to arrange events better, there's a terrible outcome. This scenario is one of the oldest science-fiction premises in the world (about a fellow who goes back to try to prevent some tragedy that has already taken place, and discovers that it never works to fool with Mother Nature). But in this film the results of the time travel are mostly preposterous and always unpleasant. The film never explains Evanís ability to metamorphose into his past self, so the twists the story takes seem to be both arbitrary and predictable. You may not figure out exactly whatís going to change, but you certainly know how it's going to turn out. The writing-directing team of Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber have made an entertaining piece of supernatural nonsense, but they've used the most unsavory twists; child molestation, endangering an infant, and cruelty to animals in order to keep their plot advancing. Kutcherís manic intensity suggests that heís far better suited to comedy than this sort of psychobabble, and neither Amy Smart, Eldon Henson nor William Lee Scott (as the grown-up versions of Kayleigh, Lenny and Tommy respectively, forced into different poses as Evan alters the past) is any more than just adequate.

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