Chaos Theory (film)

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Chaos Theory
Chaos Theory (film) poster art.jpg
Promotional poster
Directed byMarcos Siega
Produced byBarbara Kelly
Frederic Golchan
Erica Westheimer
Written byDaniel Taplitz
Kathy Gori
StarringRyan Reynolds
Stuart Townsend
Emily Mortimer
Sarah Chalke
Mike Erwin
Music byGilad Benamram
CinematographyRamsey Nickell
Edited byNicholas Erasmus
Castle Rock Entertainment
Lone Star Film Group
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • April 11, 2008 (2008-04-11)
Running time
87 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$286,399[1]

Chaos Theory is a 2008 comedy-drama film starring Ryan Reynolds, Emily Mortimer, and Stuart Townsend. The film was directed by Marcos Siega, written by Daniel Taplitz and Kathy Gori, and was shot in Coquitlam and Squamish, British Columbia.


Frank Allen is a professional speaker who lectures on time management. He lives by example: perfectly maximizing his efficiency through scheduling and planning his own life down to the minute. He dearly loves his wife, Susan, and their young daughter, Jesse.

On the day of an important seminar that could be his major break on the corporate lecture circuit, Susan changes their clocks by 10 minutes, to give him time to run a meaningless errand for her on this important day, but she moves them the wrong way. From missing the ferry to the career-damaging fact that he then arrives late to his lecture on time management, Frank experiences an off day. He loves his wife so much that, when the beautiful Paula crashes his hotel room, strips down and jumps on him, Frank excuses himself and heads home in the middle of the night.

While driving home through the night he sees a pregnant woman, Nancy, having contractions and gives the stranger a lift. At the hospital, Frank is asked to fill out some paper work. Rattled by his off day, he mistakenly puts his own information down and the nurses at the hospital assume he is the father.

Before Frank arrives home, a nurse from the hospital calls attempting to reach "the father". Susan instantly believes it is Frank's baby and that he is cheating on her and leading a double life. When Frank arrives home, she refuses to let him clear up the misunderstanding and throws him out of the house within moments. Her reaction through the next few days remains over the top, refusing to talk to Frank and only allowing him to see Jesse after school.

Left with no choice but to provide scientific proof to Susan, Frank sees a doctor for a paternity test, but receives the diagnosis that he was never able to reproduce to begin with, since he has Klinefelter's syndrome. The undeniable truth about Jesse and, thus, Susan's own infidelity devastates Frank - but also explains why Susan so instantly presupposed that Frank was a cheater, treating him with unforgiving disdain and refusing to let him even try to clarify the situation.

A few days later, Nancy brings her baby to the Allens' house in hopes of thanking Frank for his kindness, finding only Susan at home. Nancy soon clears up the misunderstanding. Susan turns on a dime, ignoring her atrocious behaviour of the past few days and expecting Frank to simply come home, acting as if she is the one who has forgiven him.

But the damage is done, 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 decisions based on 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.



Chaos Theory received generally negative reviews from critics on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic. As of October 10, 2016, the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 30% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 58 reviews. The critical consensus reads: "Ryan Reynolds and Emily Mortimer do what they can, but ultimately Chaos Theory is an overly conventional dramedy."[2] Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 44 out of 100, based on 18 reviews as of August 2009.[3]

Home media [edit]

The DVD was released on June 17, 2008 in the US.


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Chaos Theory Movie Reviews". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2016-10-10.
  3. ^ "Chaos Theory (2008): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2009-08-01.

External links[edit]