PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):
Destiny (Shahidi) is a 10-year-old orphan girl in Iowa who gets placed with Ethan (Corddry) and Jill Emmet (Silverstone). While visiting the Iowa State Fair by herself, she wanders into the exhibit of the winning butter sculpture (a life sized Last Supper) and finishes a cup very skillfully, impressing the sculpture’s creator Bob Pickler (Burrell).
Bob has won the butter sculpture contest at the fair every time for the last 15 years. Because of his dominance, he gets barred from entering in the future to give others a chance to compete. Bob’s wife, Laura (Garner) is competitive and socially ambitious, causing them to fight when he breaks the news to her. While she goes to the home of the competition’s organizer to protest, Bob drives to a strip club. While there he meets a stripper, Brooke (Wilde) and he solicits her for sex in his van. However, they’re interrupted by Laura t-boning the van with her SUV.
Laura decides to enter the county’s preliminary sculpture competition herself because of the social status that comes with winning. Meanwhile, Destiny decides to enter as well. Carol-Ann Stevenson (a fan of Bob’s) and Brooke also enter. Brooke is simply entering to harass the Picklers because Bob still owes her $600. Despite practice, Laura comes in second to Destiny while Brooke and Carol-Ann come in third and fourth respectively.
Brooke shows up at the Pickler’s house looking for her money and is let in by their daughter Kaitlin (Greene). While talking in her room, Kaitlin challenges her to a game of truth or dare which escalates to them having sex. Kaitlin is drawn to Brooke’s alternative style and attitude, but Brooke is just doing it because Kaitlin says she can get her the money she wants (which she inflates to $1,200). At the same time, Laura hooks up with a used car salesman and old boyfriend from high school, Boyd Bolton (Jackman) to get him to falsely testify to county officials that he was paid by Ethan to help Destiny in the sculpture competition. Laura suggests a rematch at the state fair to the frustration of everyone but Destiny, who agrees.
Brooke gets her money from Kaitlin (who has fallen in love with her), meets Destiny after school, and takes her to the mall to buy her a $1,200 set of chef’s knives to help her in the rematch with Laura. Later when Destiny comes home, she finds out from a social worker that her biological mother has died.
At the state fair, Laura competes with Destiny in the rematch. Laura carves a replica of John F. Kennedy’s car immediately after his assassination complete with the president’s blown up skull and Jackie Kennedy and Clint Hill crawling on the trunk, while Destiny creates her biological mother holding her infant self in a rocking chair. That night before the judging, Boyd sneaks into the fair and defaces Destiny’s sculpture. Despite this, her sculpture wins.
Later, Destiny is officially adopted by the Emmets and Laura is running for Governor of Iowa, claiming she was visited by God in a vision telling her to run.
I was watching an episode of Weeds the other day, and they had managed to stumble on some small town butter festival, complete with butter tasting, eating, and sculpting. The next day a buddy of mine recommended this film, Butter. At first, I was skeptical, especially with some of the negative reviews swirling around it. As it turns out, this wasn’t half bad.
What is this about?
When a gifted butter sculptor announces his retirement, his ambitious wife sees her hopes for future fame — and the presidency — melt away. She sets out to take up the mantle, but soon learns how cutthroat the world of pro butter sculpting can be.
What did I like?
Sculpture. Who would have thought that you could create such masterpieces from a few sticks of butter? Granted, I’m sure some of these may not have been actual creations, but I was highly impressed by them, especially the Last Supper one that is shown in the beginning.
Comedy. The black comedy that we have here is the exact kind of thing one can expect from an independent comedy, not exactly laugh out loud stuff, but still enough to keep a smile on your face throughout the whole flick. Even some of the “serious” stuff ended up being a bit funny, such as the little girl making her subtle racist comments.
Cast. The cast is great, with names like Jennifer Garner, Hugh Jackman, Ty Burrell, and Ashley Greene, but there are three that stood out to me. Frist off, is the resurgence of the always gorgeous and talented Alicia Silverstone. I found it a bit odd seeing her as a mom to the film’s young star, Yara Shahdi, or just as a mom, period. Next was her husband Rob Corddry. I can get over the fact that he somehow manged to marry a total babe like her, but if I’m not mistaken, this is the first time I’ve seen him as a good guy. He actually wasn’t playing a total scumbag for once. Finally, there is Olivia Wilde, playing a stripper, and very convincingly, I might add. Some have said she is the best thing about this movie, and when you see her, it isn’t very hard to see why.
What didn’t work?
Emmetts. Both Jennifer Garner and Ty Burrell were doing all they could with their roles, but for some reason they seemed a tad bit off. Burrell came off as very wooden, more so than he normally does, while Garner seemed like she was trying too hard to be a bitch instead of her normal goody two-shoes persona she is normally. I felt as if they could have done more with their characters, but failed to do so.
Race card. So, this little girl, who we first saw with Eddie Murphy in Imagine That, for those that were wondering, is a foster child who has never really met her parents. Because of this, for some inexplicable reason, she seems to have some racist ideas. Like most race humor, it is funny here and there when it is done in a non-offensive way, but eventually it wears thin and becomes out-of-place and annoying, especially since it comes from a little girl!
Lesbians. Look, I’m all for some girl on girl action, but having Olivia Wilde and Ashley Greene make out (it is implied that they are engaging in other “activities”, as well), just seemed to be stuck in there just because it could be. Greene’s character barely exists and makes you wonder why they even cast her, and Wilde’s has much bigger things to do than make out with a teenage daughter, no matter how hot she is.
Butter is something that isn’t quite for everyone, but it is sure is entertaining to watch. A feast for the eyes, when yo see the butter sculptures, a decent story/plot, and some nice comedic moments make this a flick that should at least be considered. I highly recommend it, despite the negative reviews. I actually liked this twisted, black comedy and, perhaps, some of you will, as well.
3 1/2 out of 5 stars