So the powers that be have been casting the actor as a befuddled daddy-type in romantic comedies like "Definitely, Maybe" and "Chaos Theory," a new film that's actually been sitting on the shelf for well over a year. "Maybe" was watchable and blandly pleasant; "Theory" is a smidgen better than that, if not the cruelly funny farce the movie's best impulses and its own trailer would have you believe.
After a modern-day opening scene, in which Reynolds is wholly unconvincing as a middle-age father of a bride, "Chaos Theory" flashes back two decades and then forward seven or so years, finally settling into its main narrative about married couple Frank (Reynolds) and Susan (British actress Emily Mortimer, making with a convincing American accent). He's an efficiency expert wound tighter than a tick, she's charming and skeptical, and their banter is pretty sharply honed for a modern multiplex comedy.
Him: "I've got to go, it's 18 after."
Her: " 'Eighteen after' is not a time, it's a symptom, like a twitch."
Him: "You used to think it was adorable."
Her: "I used to pound Jagermeister."
Daniel Taplitz's script natters along like this for a bit, introducing the couple's young daughter Jesse (Matreya Fedor), and then it starts to pull Frank's little world apart with glee. Overnight in the city after giving a motivational speech, he allows himself to be reeled in by a seminar groupie - is there such a thing? - played by Sarah Chalke, and follows that up with an emergency assist to a pregnant mother (Jocelyne Loewen) in need.
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