A review of “The Butterfly Effect” by Jeanne Aufmuth


Stars: **

Rating: R for graphic violence and language

Run Time: 1 hour, 53 minutes



Before Ashton Kutcher gained notoriety as Demi Moore’s age-impaired boy toy, he was widely considered to have talent.  Most of it seems to have evaporated along with his dignity.

Kutcher entreats the prepubescent female heart as Evan Treborn, a nerdy university psych major who barely survived a youthful bout of severe blackouts.  Triggered by stress and shock, the blackouts masked a series of alarming emotional episodes, rendering Evan dazed and confused.

An innocent incident involving Evan’s childhood journals puts him back where he started – plagued by nasty memories and the inability to perceive a consistent reality.

 Determined to get the bottom of his latest outbreak, Evan heads back to his hometown to interview members of his old gang.  Childhood sweetheart Kayleigh Miller (Amy Smart) is slinging hash at the local diner.  Or is she a drug-addled hooker? A sorority sweetheart?

As Evan revisits his past, and the recollections that remain stubbornly locked in his psyche, his life scenarios are repeatedly altered; forcing him to confront the demons littering the cutting room floor of his mind.

Butterfly goes for the jugular with its narrative exclamation points, from neighborhood dads shooting kiddie porn to abusive teens and their twisted playmates. Sadistic punks, one and all – is it something in the water?

Kutcher plays it straight, resulting in unintentional laughs at all the wrong moments.  Style takes precedence over substance, special effects over smart scripting, and jumpy scares over solid theatrics. That said, Butterfly screams guilty pleasure, emphasis on the guilt.  Destined to be a classic with the prepubescent midnight crowd.