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Butterfly Man

Butterfly Man has a beginning that lulls you into expecting a lost episode of PBS' Globe Trekker, with lots of beautiful shots of Thailand's nightlife and frequent narration from an endearingly dorky English lead with an accent that's as thick as mud. But it soon turns into something far stranger and more interesting as our hero's journey abroad goes spectacularly wrong in nearly every way possible. First his bratty girlfriend dumps him, and he finds himself cashless and alone on dark and dangerous streets. Then he hooks up with a jolly fellow Brit who could be a lifesaver or a throat-slitter, depending on his mood and how much scotch he has put away that evening. Then he falls hard for a gorgeous Thai masseuse . . . and, of course, here is where his troubles really begin. There are plenty of moments when Butterfly Man could easily strain our credulity—rather lumpy leading man Stuart Laing seems strangely irresistible to the local babes, for one thing—but there's something strangely persuasive about it; it has the unpredictable, loping rhythms of real life, and even as it occasionally brushes against James Bond territory (as in an encounter with a seductive blonde known as No Name), our hapless hero seems at least as startled about what's going on as we are. If all of this was happening to Leonardo DiCaprio or some other Hollywood smoothy, it would be easy to dismiss it as the usual movie bullshit; but there's something special about a tale of foreign intrigue that stars a guy who looks and acts like he'd have a tough time puttering around in his own London flat without spilling hot tea in his lap. (Greg Stacy) (Edwards Island Cinemas, Wed., 1:30 p.m.)


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