Movie Review: Butter (2012)
Directed by: Jim Field Smith
Written by: Jason A. Micallef
Running Time: 91 minutes
Jennifer Garner: Laura Pickler
Ty Burrell: Bob Pickler
Olivia Wilde: Brooke
Rob Corddry: Ethan Emmet
Alicia Silverstone: Jill Emmet
Yara Shahidi: Destiny
Hugh Jackman: Boyd Bolton
In this hilarious comedy, we follow the story of Bob and Laura Pickler, a young couple beginning their rise in Iowa state politics. Bob is also the reigning champ in butter carving. He first began his sculpting career when his beloved cow dies and he honors her by sculpting her likeness in butter. He goes on to be a local celebrity in the butter sculpting world. And at his side all the way has been his enthusiastic wife. When the butter powers that be tell Bob that it might be time to retire and give someone else a chance, Laura becomes enraged with a passion that could only be found in the world of butter-sculpting. She takes that passion and decides to enter the contest for herself.
While at a showing of his latest creation, a life-size Last Supper, he meets a young girl, Destiny, who is a foster child. She turns out to have a great talent for butter sculpting and their paths will cross again. Destiny has been bounced around from one foster home to another until she ends up with the Emmets, Ethan and Jill. Finally she finds a couple who are caring and really want the best for her. When she reveals her desire to enter the butter sculpting contest, they support her.
So Destiny, a child, finds herself going head to head with Laura Pickler, an overly zealous adult who is determined to win the contest. Of course, Laura finds herself in the unenviable position of trying to win a competition over the dreams of a child without coming off as a complete asshole.
Meanwhile, Bob Pickler has another interest besides butter. Turns out he is currently seeing Brooke, an exotic dancer without a soul. After he tries to break it off with her, Brooke decides to enter the contest. And as they say, it's on bitches. It's on like Donkey Kong! I don't want to give too much away, but when Laura isn't chosen to represent their county at the Iowa state fair, her mental state deteriorates and all of her prejudices and flaws come to the surface.
And at minute 51, Boyd Bolton, Laura's ex-boyfriend, appears. He's a young, charismatic car salesman with the swagger and hat of a cowboy, and he's all too happy to see Laura again.
Jennifer Garner is priceless as Laura Pickler, with her perfectly coiffed hair, floral print suits, and pearls. She is so tightly wound, I can only imagine a few diamonds in her bathroom when she does her business. Her sincerity about keeping the butter championship in the Pickler family is admirable, but she's not very likable. As likable as Jennifer Garner is in real life, it's a real feat for her to pull this off.
Yara Shahidi is absolutely adorable as Destiny. And I don't use the word loosely. She is perfect. She's not too cutesy or precious. She gives an absolutely genuine performance. And Rob Corddry is great as her foster father. He talks to her like a real person, with respect. Just the way I think you should talk to kids. The scenes between Corddry and Shahidi are the best in the film. It's worth it to see the movie just for these scenes. They are honest and touching.
Olivia Wilde is vile, disgusting and totally skanky as Brooke. In other words, she pulls it off perfectly. She is the reason for the R rating, and it was worth it.
And Hugh Jackman. Well, what can you say? He is hilarious as the gullible yokel who prays to God to thank him for sending Laura to "ahem" have her way with him and for her "ahem" surprisingly tight lady garden.
It is what it is, but Butter is worth the watch. It's so great to watch the wonderful actors play against their usual types. It's available now on Netflix Instant Streaming.
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