A teen time travel mess that thinks it's a dark thriller, The Butterfly Effect is so head-slappingly silly you may even enjoy it. Ashton Kutcher stars as Evan, a boy who discovers he can travel back into his troubled childhood and change the future for himself and his friends. Problem is, every alternative reality changes something for the worse. So he keeps going back - again and again. Result? Lobotomised entertainment that's dark, violent, and hilariously dumb.
It all starts with little Evan (Logan Lerman) suffering memory blackouts and recording his thoughts in a journal. Fast-forward and we find grown-up Evan now excelling at college. He stumbles across his old journals, begins to read... and suddenly finds himself back in the body of his child self. Now he can see what he was blacking-out: animal torture, murder, and the times he used to join childhood sweetheart Kalley (Amy Smart) and her brother (William Lee Scott) in their Dad's (Eric Stoltz) pornographic movies.
So can Evan use his powers to put things right and live happily ever after? Well, no. Evan, it turns out, is history's biggest clutz. And from prison to prostitution, The Butterfly Effect boils down to a malicious succession of dire realities that Kutcher hopeless tries to dig himself out of. It's daft, it's dark, it's Groundhog Day gone wrong.
Writer/directors Eric Bress and J Mackye Gruber (who penned fate-obsessed splat-fest Final Destination 2) are clearly aiming for Donnie Darko cerebral-cool. What they've got is something stylish, idiotic, and comical - for all the wrong reasons. Which brings us to Kutcher. The lad tries hard, he really does. But at this point in his career, serious acting means growing a trendy beard and remembering to frown a lot. Things only get funnier when we learn he's playing a character whose brain is too big for his head. Genius!