The Butterfly Effect

Rated 3.0 A college student (Ashton Kutcher) with a horrible past finds that he can go back in time and do things differently, changing his own life and those of his damaged childhood friends. Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber (who both wrote and directed) don’t bother with any time-machine mumbo jumbo—their hero simply wishes himself back in time, and it’s done. Talk about cutting to the chase! The film is just a puzzle, but it’s a clever one, as Kutcher’s character keeps returning to square one, trying to get things right. Bress and Gruber give their actors a chance to play a different character in almost every scene. Kutcher carries the film, but the near-breakthrough performance is by Amy Smart; she all but steals the picture as the hero’s childhood sweetheart, the most damaged by each of his changes.