When most films traverse the seas of melodrama, they balance it with either a thick layer of absurdity or a heavy reliance on the desperation for passion and love. While a film like Meet the Parents will take an ordinary situation and make it extraordinary with a series of over-the-top gags and painful to-watch bad luck, another, like any of Sandra Bullock's romcoms, will infuse its quirky protagonist with the burning need for love and a host of romantic ideals. Chaos Theory, however, leaves all of that aside and explores the territory of melodramatic love by focusing on the way each character lives their life and reacts to big moments. It has its share of over-the-top moments and sentimental scenes that would make cynical viewers cringe, yes, but those are only a small portion of the experience.
Ryan Reynolds stars as Frank Allen, a man who has built his life on a carefully organized timetable of index cards. He is so invested in this way of life, in fact, that he has made a career out of it; he has written a successful book about efficiency, and teaches others how to live his carefully constructed index card existence. It works wonderfully for him until the day that his well-meaning wife, Susan (Emily Mortimer), turns the clock back ten minutes and shatters the intricate structure of his day.