Life, apparently, holds unexpected surprises, and love requires the capacity to forgive. So goes the shallow philosophy of Chaos Theory, which offers these pearls as though they had never been unearthed, and squanders its running time by savoring but never really dissecting a marital crisis after infidelity leads to an earth-shattering revelation.
Those insights wouldn’t be so insipid if the story actually offered fresh, keen perspective on those age-old quandaries forever fueled by jealousy, rage and doubt. The potential is there: Ryan Reynolds plays an ultraorganized, list-making efficiency guru, and Emily Mortimer is the wife who grows weary of his anal-retentive ways after eight years of marriage. The thunderbolt plot twist derails Reynolds, but more as an excuse for him to act erratic and wacky instead of realizing that chance and risk can lead to profound self-growth.
What emerges is a short movie that feels too long, a heartfelt drama too playful to be sincere, and a narrative touching on adult themes but sabotaged by schematic false notes. Interestingly, this film started life as a production by specialty label Warner Independent Pictures, and then got supersized to big WB, with all its major-studio aversions to messy emotions and genre-shifting tones. My theory? That’s when the chaos started.