Fraternity members. In the first altered timeline, Evan winds up as a member of a stereotypical group of wealthy, womanizing frat boys who openly cheat on exams and treat their pledges like shit; it's hard to blame his former roommate, Thumper, when he refuses to even speak to him anymore.
The Aryan Brotherhood members Evan encounters in prison are, unsurprisingly, among the most overtly villainous characters in the film.
Critical Dissonance: Critics generally hated it, but audiences were kinder and it made its money back several times over. This can be seen in the Rotten Tomatoes scores: 33% for critics versus 81% for audiences.
Any one of the horrifying moments, alone, might make for a good drama, it's more the combination of them, one after another,note (It's not just that Evan loses his dog, his girlfriend, and his freedom, it's that he's forced to star in hideous kiddie porn videos, and he gets nearly strangled to death by his own father, and he's forced to murder his girlfriend's insane brother in self-defense, and he goes to prison, and he gets raped in prison, and he loses his arms in prison, and he tries to kill himself, andhis suicide attempt fails because he can't use his arms....) feels like a textbook invocation of Hilariously Abusive Childhood.
It's hard to say at exactly what point it becomes impossible to take the film seriously, but the part where Evan accidentally blows up a woman and baby with a stick of dynamite is a good contender. When the source of your Heroic B.S.O.D. comes across like something out of a Treehouse of Horror episode, it's safe to say your audience isn't going to be weeping.
Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: One of the major criticisms of the film was that it was so phenomenally depressing that by the end most of the audience was wishing they could spontaneously commit suicide too. Evan has to cope with being molested by his friend's father (and then attacked by his own father while the latter is institutionalized), accidentally blowing up a woman and her baby with a stick of dynamite, having his beloved dog burned to death, and watching his best friend lose his mind...and that's just the first half-hour of the movie!
Narm: The whole film is filled with this, apart from also being a relentless Deus Angst Machina. Highlights include:
Any time something particularly horrible happens to Evan.
Kid!Tommy's constant cursing and his vulgar MST-ing on the Gluttony victim from Se7en in the cinema. In the same scene, he also beats up a guy twice his size in the cinema after witnessing Evan and Kayleigh (who is his sister, by the way) kiss.
Evan accidentally crushing a granola bar with his prosthetic hand.
The deadly serious use of the word "fuck bag" to defuse a child abuse situation.
The reaction of the cell-mate to the magically appearing "stigmata".
The sheer amount of crap in Evan's life even before he starts trying to fix it, which just gets impossible to take seriously.
The Stock Scream used by Kayleigh when Lenny kills Tommy in one of the alternate timelines.
"Oh, Mrs. Bosweeelllll..."
In several of the revisited memories, Evan's dialogue lapses into rather verbose, melodramatic monologuing, which make for rather jarring shifts from the otherwise fairly naturalistic dialogue in the rest of the film, and which are made extra narmy by having a 7-year-old actor deliver lines like "This is the very moment of your reckoning. In the next 30 seconds you're gonna open up one of two doors. The first door will forever traumatize your own flesh and blood." with a straight face.
Nightmare Retardant: The scene where Evan wakes up with no arms. Also counts as hideously painful Narm in some scenes. And sweet Jesus, did we mention the granola bar thing? Well, we'll mention it again.
Special Effects Failure: The visual effects for Evan's amputated arms are extremely ropey. Fortunately they're only visible in one scene and are otherwise covered by prosthetics.
Vindicated by History: Five years after release, Peter Bradshaw in The Guardianargued that the main reason for the film's critical drubbing at the time of release was because of Ashton Kutcher's public persona, and that "slowly but surely, it will float up to B-picture classic status."
Evan is molested by Kayleigh's pedophile father, accidentally kills a mother and her baby, lost his best friend (who couldn't cope with the guilt and eventually became a chronically depressed recluse), loses his arms in another timeline and sees his girlfriend connect with the best friend instead until Evan tries to commit suicide (which fails), he suffers repeated brain damage every time he resets the timeline until he's nearly hospitalized as a vegetable, and that's just a selection of his crappy, crappy life.
Kayleigh (along with her brother Tommy) were also molested by her father, and she went through most of the other hardships that Evan faced. In one timeline she becomes a drug-addicted, self-loathing, streetwalker. In another her boyfriend beats her psychotic brother to death in front of her. This is later subverted when Evan ensures that she and her brother will live a happy life being raised by her mother, with no memories of the alternate timelines.