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Chaos Theory (2008)


Average Rating: 5.1/10
Reviews Counted: 61
Fresh: 18
Rotten: 43

Critics Consensus: Ryan Reynolds and Emily Mortimer do what they can, but ultimately Chaos Theory is an overly conventional dramedy.

Average Rating: 4.6/10
Reviews Counted: 25
Fresh: 3
Rotten: 22

Critics Consensus: Ryan Reynolds and Emily Mortimer do what they can, but ultimately Chaos Theory is an overly conventional dramedy.


Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 12,456


Movie Info

After living his life with clockwork precision, a man throws any and all caution to the wind in this freewheeling comedy drama. Frank Allen (Ryan Reynolds) is a successful motivational speaker and author whose book "The Five-Minute Efficiency Trainer" advises readers that strict organization and avoiding impulsive behavior is the key to success. Frank is married to Susan (Emily Mortimer), who has been his sweetheart since college, but while he's happy, she's beginning to have second thoughts -- … More

PG-13 (for mature thematic material, sexual content and language)
Drama , Comedy
Directed By:
Written By:
Daniel Taplitz
In Theaters:
Jun 10, 2008
Warner Bros. Pictures - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Chaos Theory

All Critics (63) | Top Critics (25) | Fresh (18) | Rotten (43) | DVD (2)

The lead performers, the brighter fillips in Daniel Taplitz's screenplay and Marcos Siega's assured direction make this a pleasing item overall.

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
Top Critic

If actor Ryan Reynolds isn't careful, he's going to parlay his good looks and engaging presence into a full-time job as a game-show host.

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
Top Critic

Chaos Theory peddles the usual carpe diem movie bunk.

Full Review… | April 24, 2008
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Chaos Theory lives up, or maybe down, to its title, as it's all over the place.

April 14, 2008
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic

Reynolds goes through his emotional paces with conviction and is developing a trademark wounded look that is quite effective.

Full Review… | April 11, 2008
Toronto Star
Top Critic

It's swift and watchable enough, and the actors keep things interesting, but ultimately the movie falls short.

Full Review… | April 11, 2008
Seattle Times
Top Critic

...peters out in a fairly substantial way as it approaches its woefully melodramatic finale...

Full Review… | May 21, 2009
Reel Film Reviews

"No amount of CPR can bring this dead fish of a movie back to life."

Full Review… | September 8, 2008

The cast is good and the themes are compelling, but the execution is a bit of a mess.

Full Review… | June 17, 2008
Aisle Seat

The movie lives up to its title. How else to explain the random switch from such a dizzy set up with such promise to a typical, by the numbers relationship drama?

Full Review… | May 22, 2008
Windy City Times

Chaos Theory, starring Ryan Reynolds, confirms the underground vision of screenwriter Daniel Taplitz, who has re-imagined the screwball comedy in original terms.

Full Review… | April 16, 2008
New York Press

Upbeat rom-com grounded in solid work by Ryan Reynolds and Emily Mortimer tells a meaningful story while still staying in-bounds with the PG-13 rating. Unusual Western Canada seacoast photography and upbeat soundtrack make for an entertaining film.

April 14, 2008
Monsters and Critics

As imperfect as it is, Chaos Theory is much better than most of Hollywood's output this year.

Full Review… | April 14, 2008
Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL)

Chaos may make for an interesting life experience, but onscreen it results in a messy and unfulfilling movie.

Full Review… | April 14, 2008
Film Journal International

The only ending that I can think of that these characters deserve would be to have the guys from Funny Games arrive at the cabin to inquire about the availability of some eggs.

Full Review… | April 14, 2008

This is a spot on brilliant gem of film that goes from one unexpected surprise to another. It had me laughing uncontrollably at times.

Full Review… | April 12, 2008

Reynolds and Mortimer won't be fazed by this misfire but Chaos Theory certainly lives up to its title. It's a mess.

Full Review… | April 11, 2008
The Deadbolt

An uptight efficiency trainer learns to embrace the messy chaos of life when a small indiscretion leads to the collapse of his marriage in this atonal romantic comedy.

Full Review… | April 11, 2008
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Audience Reviews for Chaos Theory

It was enjoyable indeed.

Dead Angel

Super Reviewer

He planned his life like clockwork. Now things are going cuckoo.

Good movie. Ryan Reynolds can do comedy and drama and in the same movie too, reminds me of Cary Grant. The story is quite bizarre but good and with a nice ending. The sort of climax of the movie is quite superb. You see great dramadic acting, and a clever script to boot. No, not a clever script, but a sincere one. Its writing makes this movie more of a comedic romance than a romantic comedy. If you don't understand that distinction, you will after watching this movie.

Frank Allen (Ryan Reynolds) is a professional speaker who lectures on time management and he lives by example by perfectly maximizing his efficiency through scheduling and planning his own life down to the minute. One day when his wife Susan (Emily Mortimer) decides to set the alarm clock back 10 minutes, in hopes of giving her husband an extra ten minutes of time in the morning; she accomplishes the exact opposite. From missing the ferry to arriving late to his lecture on time management, Frank experiences an off day. While driving home, he sees a pregnant woman in need of help of getting to the hospital and he decides to offer the stranger a lift. At the hospital, Frank is asked to fill out some paper work, and not thinking much about his situation, he puts his own information down and the nurses at the hospital misunderstand and assume he is the father.

The following morning, before Frank arrives home, a nurse from the hospital calls attempting to reach him and his wife answers the phone. The nurse, in trying to contact who she thought was the father, leads Susan to believe it is Frank's baby and she presupposes he is cheating on her and leading a double life. When Frank arrives home, he is unable to clear up the misunderstanding and Susan throws him out of the house. Susan then refuses to speak to him, and only allows him to see his daughter after school. In an attempt to prove his honesty to his wife by demonstrating that it is not his baby, Frank sees a doctor and receives the news that he was never able to reproduce to begin with, since he has Klinefelter's syndrome.

A few days later, the stranger brings her baby to the Allens' house in hopes of thanking him for his kindness, only to find his wife at home. After the stranger introduces herself and her baby to Susan, she clears up the misunderstanding, but the damage is done since Frank now knows that their child is not really his. The tides change dramatically as Frank realizes that he was the one in the relationship who was faithful, and goes through a withdrawal as he tries to comprehend how his daughter could not be his and how wrong his life turned out when he believed that he has always stayed straight and narrow.

After giving a life-changing speech about living on whim at his own time management lecture, he decides to live his life based on chance from that moment on. He starts his reformed outlook on life with the simple idea of possibility and randomness by making his decision based shuffling three index cards with written options and choosing one at chance. Through his journey, he learns more about love, friendship, faith, hope and life than he ever imagined.

Manu Gino

Super Reviewer

He planned his life like clockwork. Now things are going cuckoo.

Wahida K

Super Reviewer

Reynolds is a decent enough actor but this is just an inert bore.

jay nixon

Super Reviewer

Chaos Theory Quotes

Frank Allen:
Do you know what doctors call riders that don't wear a helmet?
Buddy Endrow:
A hotel?
Frank Allen:
Organ donors.
– Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
Jesse Allen:
Give it to me straight: virginal bride or slut in white?
– Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)

Discussion Forum

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