Review: Chaos Theory
PLOT: Frank Allen lives his life by order and plan. He maps out everything he is about to achieve. That is of course until his wife changes the clock and he misses the ferry to get to a seminar. This man who is always on time, ends up over an hour late and everything he knows begins to fall apart. His marriage and his friendships soon get complicated when he finds out some shocking news. This leads him to a life of chance and guess. Will his marriage survive? Well, actually, you can pretty much get that from the opening scene so no surprise there. And truthfully, there were no surprises anywhere in CHAOS THEORY.
I really want to like a film starring Ryan Reynolds. I think this guy is a very charismatic actor. He is funny and he can handle drama pretty well too. So why does he choose such bland films. CHAOS THEORY is just another one of his, “he really should get better scripts“, hollow romantic comedies. It revolves around a man who is forced to redefine his life after some shocking news from his wife. It is so clichéd and false that it feels much too much like a sitcom. There is an ackward mishmash of slapstick, heartfelt emotion and romantic comedy that only feels like it has half a heart when it teeters on the more dramatic moments. My favorite scene in the entire film has no dialogue, just Mr. Reynolds realizing that everything he knows has fallen apart, he sits alone with the big bad world surrounding him. If CHAOS THEORY wasn't a comedy and the characters weren't so dumb, there may have been a very sweet story here. I liked some of the dramatic elements and I liked all three of the lead actors in this romantic triangle. But the characters are really dim and poorly written.
CHAOS THEORY tells the take of Frank Allen (Ryan Reynolds). He is first introduced as the father of the bride at a lavish wedding. But we first meet the young man who is about to marry Frank’s daughter. It is Mr. Allen who sees that the groom to be may be running out on his dear girl, so Mr. Allen has a sit down with the frightened man. Thus, we get to hear all about his crazy life and what kept him and his wife together. Both of these actors are able to offer up some hope that this might be more enjoyable than it is. But it soon turns into a badly written sitcom. From the first moments that the three friends turn up when we “turn back the clock” for story time, Frank is in his younger years, his possible girlfriend Susan (Emily Mortimer) is deciding which of her friends she was going to marry. Two of those friends include Frank and Buddy Endrow (Stuart Townsend). I hated this scene. It was pretentious and pathetic. I already didn’t give one single crap about these annoying people.
As the predictable wheel turns, Frank and Susan get married and have a child. But all the while, it is clear that Buddy still has a hankering for Sue. And throughout this ridiculous storyline, Ryan and his “lists” that his character creates somehow keeps me slightly interested. He is constantly preparing for everything in his life by making lists of what he must accomplish. He even becomes a noted self help author. But one day, he puts together his list and his loving wife messes with his plans by changing the clock which makes him late for a meeting, it turns his world into chaos. And one misunderstanding to another leads to a shockingly predictable twist. Meanwhile, Frank begins turning to chance for every decision he makes. He even reverts into Van Wilder mode by streaking at a hockey game. But this chaos just seems to make his life more complicated, especially when he meets Paula Crowe (Sarah Chalke). I really like Sarah and was happy to see her in the film. It’s too bad the character is so unlikable and self involved, although I think every person in this movie is a self involved caricature, barely resembling a real human being.
By the end of the film, every damn person had pissed me off so much that I was just glad it was almost over when the obvious outcome arrived. Buried within it’s structure, there are parenting issues, trust issues, and love issues which feel so futile and meaningless here. Yet in the end, Reynolds, Mortimer and Townsend were somehow able to give a little warmth to these miserably sad and dumb men and women. I also liked the young daughter Jesse played by Matreya Fedor. I think there may have been an incredibly touching tale here about relationships and dishonesty and the consequence it has. But as a comedy, it is stale and should be on for no more than a half hour with a laugh track involved so people in the audience know when to chuckle. The statements on life and love wither down to nothing as the last few frames draw to the final sequence. Will there or won’t there be a wedding for the now grown up little girl? I’m pretty sure each of you reading this can guess the answer to that. And all I’m saying… no, I’m begging… somebody please give Mr. Reynolds a good movie. Hell, he almost made me care in CHAOS THEORY, and that says a lot. Just a side note, I did miss DEFINITELY, MAYBE in the theatres, so that could have been good. My rating 3/10 -- JimmyO