8 Milestones in the Devolution of Ashton Kutcher

In No Strings Attached, Natalie Portman co-stars for the second movie in a row with a former cast member of That '70s Show. Ashton Kutcher gets the honors this time (sorry, lesbian fans!), playing... well, a version of himself that's been steadily getting worse since That '70s Show. How did Kutcher transform from a pretty decent sitcom actor to a movie star who appears in terrible movies? You can always trace a direct line through a handful of important roles to illustrate what led to an actor's current success. Well, except in this case. If anything, that line has been on a steady decline since Kutcher's first role as Michael Kelso. Let's look at eight performances that trace the devolution of one Christopher Ashton Kutcher.

That '70s Show (1998)

Kutcher, on his first audition, scored the role of Michael Kelso on this fairly enjoyable sitcom that lasted for eight seasons. Set during the decade of the 1970s (duh), the show focused on the lives of a group of teenagers living in suburban Wisconsin. For the first seven seasons (and a few episodes in the eighth), Kutcher provided the manic comic relief as a slightly moronic guy who depended on his looks to get ahead in life. Unbeknownst to all of us at the time, Kutcher, who was pretty good as Kelso, would co-opt this policy for his future movie roles. Thirteen years later, That '70s Show is still the highlight of Kutcher's career.

Dude, Where's My Car (2000)

For those out there who have never seen Dude, Where's My Car?, this is a very odd film. What may seem like a pretty low impact jaunt about stoners who lost their car, winds up, inexplicably, being about space aliens. Oh, spoiler. Anyway, yes: This movie is stupid, but it's called Dude, Where's My Car?, so what did you expect? Regardless, for a guy looking for his first starring role in a film, at least Dude, Where's My Car? was different and has a memorable title that still finds its way into punchlines today. Also, look for a pre-Alias Jennifer Garner as a co-star.

The Butterfly Effect (2004)

Again, this movie isn't terrible. And give credit for Kutcher for trying to branch out into a more serious role, something that would never happen today. Kutcher plays Evan, a man who is haunted with the ability to go back in time and change certain events in order to (at least he hopes), have a happier ending. Unfortunately, his actions in the past always lead to serious consequences in the future (as the scene below show, one of his decisions makes him an amputee), hence the title. The Butterfly Effect grossed $58 million domestically, proving that there was a market for Kutcher in a more serious role. If only he followed through on that.

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  • Smarmy Fierstein says:

    Punk'd should have really been included. That is when he first started seeming like someone other than "that dumb guy from That 70's Show."

  • InigoMontoya says:

    Ms. Zacharek might have a bone to pick with you. She seems quite fond of the fellow.

  • Scraps says:

    And don't forget all of those lousy commercials for whatever camera he is pimping. I want to meet the person who sees that commercial and says to him/herself, "Golly, that Ashton is charming and seems to be having so much fun with that camera. I'll run right out and buy one!"... and punch him/her in the face!

  • Hieronymous says:

    Not an Ashton fan myself, but I did enjoy THE GUARDIAN which didn't appear on your list.

  • Trace says:

    Ashton HAS done an indie. Haven't you so-called movie buffs heard of Spread?

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