Chaos Theory

Posted April 10, 2008 in Film

Ryan Reynolds’ acting deserves more credit. At night, he shacks up with Scarlett Johansson, but by day he transforms into Hollywood’s lumpen everyman—usually with a kid to boot. He specializes in anti-romance romances, love stories that draw power from admitting that love stinks (but it’s still worth it). On the morning of his daughter’s wedding, Frank (Reynolds) stops his twitchy future son-in-law (Chris Martin) from dashing out the back door by pouring a tequila and rehashing the worst month of his marriage to Susan (Emily Mortimer). The framing device is lazy, but allows for a sweet kick in the final scene as we now know the hell Susan and Frank went through for that moment watching their girl (Elisabeth Harnois) say her vows. Frank’s a regimented efficiency expert; Susan a peevish teacher. Her decision to trick her uptight husband (who only truly glows when talking about his To Do list) by fudging the minute hand on the clock sets off a disastrous domino effect of flirtatious hotel bar Tangerinis, paternity tests, and naked streaking across a hockey rink as Frank lashes out against the life of order that wound up overturning his world. Despite its polemic simplicity, director Daniel Taplitz’s slight parable is charming. Reynolds has one Big Speech about the nature of the human heart, but largely Taplitz keeps the sadness just under the surface where we can sense Susan and Frank’s marital frustrations along with their hopes for the better tomorrow we’re glad to know lies ahead. (Amy Nicholson)



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