Chaos Theory

2008, Movie, PG-13, 0 mins


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.

Professional time manager Frank Allen (Ryan Reynolds) believes that with a little determination and lot of 3x5 index cards, all the disorder in the universe can be tamed. It's simply a matter of learning how to manage one's time and, most importantly, breaking life down into a series of to-do lists; otherwise, whim and happenstance prevail. Though Frank has written a book on the subject -- "The Five-Minute Efficiency Trainer" -- and is a regular on the corporate lecture circuit, his wife, Susan (Emily Mortimer) takes an opposite worldview. Susan even picked Frank to be her husband on something of a whim after he won her New Year's Eve challenge to see who had the best nickname for his penis, beating his best friend Buddy's (Simon Townsend) "Master of the Universe" with his own "Truth." After eight years of marriage and the birth of their daughter, Jesse, Susan hasn't succeeded in loosening Frank up the slightest bit, and her effort to buy him a little time on the morning of a big, out-of-town lecture ends in near-disaster when she accidentally pushes the clock back 10 minutes instead of forward, making Frank late for his own seminar on efficient time management. That night at the hotel bar, the drunken Frank -- still angry that Susan would throw a spanner into his carefully calibrated works -- allows himself to flirt with sexy lecture-attendee Paula (Sarah Chalke), who manages to worm her way up to his room. Frank cuts things short after a brief kiss, guiltily grabs his bags and heads home, but no sooner is he out the door when the phone rings. Paula answers it and, of course, it's Susan. Frank, meanwhile, is run off the road by a pregnant woman (Jocelyn Loewen) who's gone into labor en route to the hospital. Frank takes her to the emergency room where he's mistaken for the baby's father, and Susan's misguided suspicion that Frank is cheating on her takes a bizarre twist when the hospital calls the following morning looking for the proud new daddy. Now convinced that her husband is not only having an affair, but starting a second family on the sly, Susan demands that Frank prove the baby isn't his. Frank arranges for a DNA test, but when the results come back, he learns something far more troubling than the truth of the baby's paternity, something that leads this master planner to abandon his faith in the order of things along with his conviction that we have any control over this chaotic universe.

leave a comment --Ken Fox

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