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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Movie Reviews > Butter

MOVIE REVIEWS

BUTTER (2012)

Starring Jennifer Garner, Ty Burrell, Olivia Wilde, Ashley Green, Rob Corddry, Alicia Silverstone, Hugh Jackman, Yara Shahidi, Kristen Schaal, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Phyllis Smith, Dodie Brown, Joe Chrest, Jody Thompson and Mark Oliver.

Screenplay by Jason Micallef.

Directed by Jim Field Smith.

Distributed by The Weinstein Company.  90 minutes.  Rated R.

 

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Butter

Jennifer Garner is in an interesting point in her career.  On the same day this week, she has two films being released on video after short-lived theatrical releases.  And the ideas behind both of the movies are, umm, well a little odd.  Which in itself is not necessarily a bad thing, there have been many off-beat movies that are fascinating.  However, while both of these films have their moments, both of them are eventually just a bit too quirky for their own good.

One of those films was The Odd Life of Timothy Green, a surreal look at families and small town life in which a barren couple who finally gets the little boy they have been wanting for so long – by magically growing the boy in their garden.

You wouldn't think that you could come up with a movie concept that is even more wacky than that.  And then you watch Butter.

Butter is a surreal look at politics, art and small town values that revolves around the high pressure world of professional butter sculpture.  Butter sculpture???  Yeah, fo' realz.  Apparently there is a thriving world of artists creating exquisitely detailed statues completely from huge blocks of dairy spread.

Actually, the butter is really just a symbol in Butter.  The movie is more a not-too-subtle mocking of red state life.  Garner's character here is Laura Pickler, an uptight and driven Tea Party nightmare – the character seems to be a puree of Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Reese Witherspoon in Election and the mother from The Manchurian Candidate.

Her life revolves around the butter world.  Her husband is a fifteen-time champion of butter sculpture who is pressured out of his championship status (the husband is played by Ty Burrell, who seems to still be playing his Modern Family character of Phil here, just with a different name).  It is with this championship that she finally finds the power and status that she has always craved. 

Therefore, when her husband is put out to pasture (look, dairy humor!) by the butter sculpture community, Laura takes it very, very personally.

In the meantime, his championship is being threatened by a 12-year old black orphan who appears to be a butter savant.  (Yes, I realize how ridiculous that terms sounds, too.)

This adds another strange level to the already odd consistency of Butter – middle class white Southerners trying to keep a little black African American girl down.

Then add some new-millennium "Harper Valley PTA"-style small-town shenanigans.  The husband is in the middle of an extra-marital affair with the only prostitute in the world who has not learned to collect the money up front – played by Olivia Wilde, who is way too sexy to be a small town hooker, no matter how many tattoos and piercings she takes on.  The wife retaliates by sleeping with the stupid local car dealer (Hugh Jackman).  Their bi-curious daughter (Ashley Green) hates her parents, but is in love with dad's hooker.

Which might all be a little more interesting if it wasn't such a ridiculous idea and such a silly subject.

Butter is not funny enough to work as a satire, nor is it biting enough to work as a social statement.  Instead, like its title subject, the movie is slick, soft, a little greasy and melts in the heat.

Dave Strohler

Copyright ©2012 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: December 6, 2012.

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Copyright ©2012 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: December 6, 2012.

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