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The Butterfly Effect

Smells Like Poop

When I got home and took my shoes off, I saw exactly what had been causing that horrible smell in the car. I'd stepped into a big, steaming pile of The Butterfly Effect. After using a stick to scrape the Kutcher out of the treads of my sneakers, I washed my hands very well with anti-bacterial soap; fecal to oral is the most effective way to get sick.

The beard-toting Ashton is Evan Treborn, a young man whose life has been plagued by blackouts. Where do you go, Evan? No one knows, least of all poor Evan, who wakes up from each of his blackouts with a sweaty upper lip and the same question: Where are we? Basically, Evan experiences the same thing that any rational human being should experience upon walking out of The Butterfly Effect. Where am I? What happened? More importantly, what happened to the last 113 minutes?

Back when Evan was a child, some fairly suspect mind-doctoring by his psychiatrist resulted in Evan keeping a journal. No one ever sees fit to check the psychiatrist's papers, not even when we find out that the same doctor "treated" Evan's father, who is locked up and crazy. A note on this: the town in which Evan lives has the luxury of a "one size fits all" lunatic asylum. Anyone from the town who has ever gone nuts (or just needed a little time-out) ends up in the same building, and seems to stay there forever, which cuts down on production costs.

Back to the journals. When Evan would black out, the journal would trail off, and then when he'd wake up he'd continue the writing. This is important because when Evan grows up and goes to State College, he figures out a way to go back in time by reading his journals. The cameraman starts shaking the camera, Ashton's mouth widens and the walls disappear. It's some pretty bush league camera work, to be truthful.

Evan's goal in revisiting the past is to save his beloved Kayleigh (Amy Smart) from suicide. Events in the past had transpired between Keyleigh's dad (an incredibly creepy Eric Stolz), Kayleigh and Evan. What kind of events, you ask? Imagine, if you can, Eric Stolz drinking cheap Canadian whiskey and directing a home movie about Robin Hood. More specifically, a seven-year old Robin Hood and Maid Marion consummating their marriage vows. Creepy. It turns out to be the end of Kayleigh, years later, as her guilt forces her into suicide.

Evan returns to the past to confront Stolz and try to change Kayleigh's untimely death. But then Evan must continue to return to the past because every little piece of tinkering he does eventually fucks something up for the future. He's a mess, the plot is a mess, and that's really all there is to it.

Recently I was given as a gift a notebook whose pages are divided lengthwise in half. One side is labeled PRO and the other CON. The Butterfly Effect was my first test of the notepad, and the only gripe I have with it is that the CON side isn't long enough for a movie like this one.

There is some pretty funny stereotyping of frat guys. And watching Ashton try to act is funny, too, although it's not supposed to be. For the most part, though, there was just CON after CON after CON.

There's no point in going any further. This movie will tank in the box office and hopefully we won't have to hear anything else about it.