Directed by: Jim Field Smith
Written by: Jason A. Micallef
MPAA Rating: R
Butter is a political satire based on the 2008 primaries set in the world of butter carving. When reigning champ Bob Pickler (Burrell; Modern Family) is asked to step down, his wife (Garner; Juno) decides she’ll bring home the championship, especially after she finds her husband with a hooker (Wilde; House, The Change-Up). In her way though is a determined African American little girl in foster care who’s new on the scene with a natural talent named Destiny (Shahidi).
Butter is one of those movies that’s been around for a while. People have been talking about it ever since it premiered last year on the festival circuit and now here it is in theaters. And they should be talking about it because it’s a fantastic little film that is super enjoyable. Is it award worthy? No, but you’ll probably have fun watching it, especially if you get the political undertones.
Before I talk about anything else I have to say the art direction in this movie was incredible. Obviously not working with a large budget they did a tremendous job all around creating this world, but also with the butter sculptures that are just awesome. So good work there. Then you have the script, which is essentially the heart of this movie. It’s very well written and it’s that writing that will draw you in.
The directing is also pretty great. Going along with that though are the great performances. The movie is filled with well known actors, mostly from TV with a few exceptions, but they really sell their characters. Alicia Silverstone and Rob Corddry are exceptional as foster parents to Destiny. You buy that they care and they really want the best for this girl. Yara Shahidi who plays Destiny is basically the second lead (it’s a shame she’s not on that poster above), and does a really incredible job. Child actors can be hit or miss and she definitely hit this one out of the park. So much of the movie is on her back and she pulls it off effortlessly.
The other family consists of Jennifer Garner, Ty Burrell, and Ashely Greene as their teenage daughter. All three are good, but I do have some complaints here. Mainly that I’ve seen this from Garner and Burrell before. Burrell seems to be playing a smarter version of his Modern Family character and Garner seems to be playing a very slight variation of her Juno character. The performances are wonderful, I just felt like they were playing the same sorts of things that we’ve seen them do. It is a minor criticism though. I did really love Greene though who has a small role that’s mostly for comedic purposes. She plays it great though.
Also there to play a lot of the bigger laugh moments is Olivia Wilde as a stripper/prostitute. Olivia Wilde is a great actress and she’s not afraid to use her body, as she does here. But she’s also really a terrific comedic actor and that really comes across in Butter. Like I said she is basically there as a comedic device as well as a little bit of plot and to add to the political comparisons. She is great and her scenes really shine. Rounding out the cast is Hugh Jackman, who honestly doesn’t have a lot to do and has very little screen time but who makes the most of what he’s given.
Butter is a comedy first and foremost and it’s definitely funny. But you probably won’t find yourself rolling on the floor laughing, it’s a more subtle kind of laugh but it’s still extremely entertaining.
Overall while it’s not a perfect movie, it’s super entertaining and enjoyable. I recommend checking out Butter when it hits theaters near you (different times depending on your location).