Entertainment Weekly

Stay Connected


Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content
Oscars 2017
Everything you need to knowDon't Miss It


The Butterfly Effect

Posted on

Ashton Kutcher, The Butterfly Effect
The Butterfly Effect: Shane Harvey

The Butterfly Effect

Current Status:
In Season
113 minutes
Wide Release Date:
Ashton Kutcher, Amy Smart, Cameron Bright, Elden Henson, Eric Stoltz, Melora Walters
Eric Bress, J. Mackye Gruber
New Line Cinema
63867, 66238
Sci-fi and Fantasy, Mystery and Thriller, Drama

We gave it a C-

In The Butterfly Effect, Ashton Kutcher wakes up in a dorm room and discovers that he’s got a pair of stumps where his forearms used to be. ”What the f—!” he exclaims, and if there’s a piece of dialogue this year campier than that, I’d love to hear it. Kutcher doesn’t sound upset, exactly; he sounds punk’d, as if he’d just found himself sleeping next to Bruce Willis or something.

”The Butterfly Effect” is a chain-reaction thriller in which Kutcher keeps diving back into his past and altering some horrendous event (child sexual abuse, a dog set on fire, you get the picture), then shooting into the different future that results from it. He ends up, for a scene or two, as a frat boy, a disabled sad sack, and a prisoner surrounded by thick-chested Aryan rapists. (Talk about punk’d.) Yet nothing in the movie has much consequence, since Kutcher keeps skipping to a new reality before we can figure out what he’s doing in the old one. It’s like he’s trapped in a ”Twilight Zone” theme restaurant.

There’s a good head trip nestled somewhere within the messy, sodden execution of ”The Butterfly Effect”; I kept wondering what a moody grunge technician like David Fincher would have done with it. But Kutcher is the wrong actor to anchor a psychological freak-out. Wearing a scruffy beard and an expression of lost-dog woe, he overacts to signify that he wants to be taken seriously. He may yet turn out to be a movie star, but not if he comes on like Eric Roberts’ kid brother scrambling to measure up.