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Chaos Theory (film)

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Chaos Theory (film) movie poster

Release date
April 11, 2008 (2008-04-11)

This man will bring order to the universe...or not.

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 Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.


Chaos Theory (film) movie scenes

Chaos theory trailer


Chaos Theory (film) movie scenes

Frank Allen (Ryan Reynolds) 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. 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 needing help 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. 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.

Chaos Theory (film) movie scenes

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 even refuses to speak to him, and only allows him to see their daughter after school. In an attempt to prove his fidelity to his wife by demonstrating that it is not his baby, 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.

Chaos Theory (film) movie scenes

A few days later, the stranger brings her baby to the Allens' house in hopes of thanking Frank 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 daughter 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 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.


  • Ryan Reynolds as Frank Allen
  • Emily Mortimer as Susan Allen
  • Stuart Townsend as Buddy Endrow
  • Sarah Chalke as Paula Crowe
  • Mike Erwin as Ed
  • Constance Zimmer as Peg the Teacher
  • Matreya Fedor as Jesse Allen (7 years)
  • Elisabeth Harnois as Jesse Allen
  • Chris William Martin as Damon
  • Jovanna Huguet as Maid of Honor
  • Christopher Jacot as Simon / Best Man
  • Alessandro Juliani as Ken
  • Jocelyne Loewen as Pregnant Nancy
  • Christine Chatelain as Tracy
  • Reception

    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." Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 44 out of 100, based on 18 reviews as of August 2009.

    Home media

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


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