This film puts it title to work in its own narrative only to leave the audience wondering what they've just seen.
Frank Allen (Ryan Reynolds) is a time efficiency expert (apparently they exist) whose life veers off track one day when his wife, in an attempt to save him time, inadvertently winds the clock backwards instead of forwards. Ten lost minutes result in misinterpretations and revelations that lead to Frank being kicked out of the house. He is forced to discover the importance of a healthy dose of chaos. So far, so rom-com. Except that Chaos Theory doesn't really want to be a rom-com. It lurches from comedy to weepy family drama and back again, so that by the end you're not sure whether to laugh or cry. The result is that it's not funny or sad enough to do either. Reynolds, however, does what he can with the role, and the opening and closing scenes, where he imparts words of wisdom to his future son-in-law, are the funniest in the film. The fact that he looks ridiculous as a 50-year-old and the groom looks oddly prepubescent is beside the point. Some beautiful cinematography helps move things along nicely, as does the always lovely Emily Mortimer as Frank's wife, Susan, who is swathed throughout the film in what looks like the entire contents of the Toast catalogue. But it's not enough to tie this wannabe indie comedy together in any meaningful form. Following one of Frank's own mantras - less chaos, more efficiency - would, in this case, have improved it immeasurably.