Butter (2011 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Jim Field Smith|
|Written by||Jason Micallef|
|Editing by||Matt Garner
|Studio||The Weinstein Company|
|Running time||90 minutes|
Butter is an ensemble comedy film directed by Jim Field Smith, from a screenplay by Jason Micallef, starring Jennifer Garner, Ty Burrell, Olivia Wilde, Rob Corddry, Ashley Greene, Alicia Silverstone and Hugh Jackman. It was released on October 5, 2012 in the United States and Canada by The Weinstein Company. The film is said to be a satire of the 2008 Democratic Presidential Primary. It is partially narrated by both a young foster child, Destiny, and the antagonist Laura Pickler.
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 the Holy Grail cup very skillfully, impressing the sculpture's creator Bob Pickler (Burrell).
Bob had won the butter sculpture contest at the fair every time the previous 15 years. Because of his dominance, he is asked to exclude himself from entering in the future to give others a chance to compete. Bob's wife, Laura (Garner), is overly 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 minivan. 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 love struck Kaitlin, 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 butter sculpture room and defaces Destiny's sculpture with a blowtorch. Destiny, disappointed and expecting a loss in the competition, encounters Laura in the restroom and offers the forgiveness of her handshake. Laura tells Destiny that winning the butter sculpting contest means more to her than the little girl can comprehend. Laura feels she has little opportunity to distinguish herself otherwise, while Destiny has talent and her entire life to realize her own potential. Despite the damage, Destiny's sculpture wins. The sabotage of the piece is recognized as "higher art", as the judges believe the melted face lends the butter sculpture a greater depth. Destiny goes on to win in the state competition, where judges give a positive critique on her piece, deeming it an "angst-ridden exploration of post-natal abandonment". Upon her victory, Destiny assures Laura the butter carving contest is "not all that you have". Laura kneels down to Destiny and hugs her, understanding she ought to move on to greater triumphs of her own.
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.
- Jennifer Garner as Laura Pickler
- Yara Shahidi as Destiny
- Ty Burrell as Bob Pickler
- Olivia Wilde as Brooke
- Rob Corddry as Ethan Emmet
- Ashley Greene as Kaitlin Pickler
- Alicia Silverstone as Jill Emmet
- Hugh Jackman as Boyd Bolton
- Kristen Schaal as Carol-Ann Stevenson
- Corena Chase as Mrs. Schram
- Brett Hill as Hayden
The script came third on Leonard Franklin's 2008 Blacklist of Hollywood's most popular unproduced screenplays.
Jennifer Garner commented in February 2010, saying, "We are just about to get green light, so I will be diving into butter and learning how to fake it. I am sure we will have to hire professionals to make the final products but I'm looking forward to picking up some new skills. Maybe they will come in handy during a family holiday".
Butter has received some mixed reviews. Though it holds a rating of 35% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 60 reviews, the user reviews at Internet Movie Database are positive.
- Saito, Stephen. "'Butter' Churns a Political Fable Out of Race, Age and Iowa Butter Sculptors". Take Part. Retrieved 9 Mar 2013.
- Billington, Alex (December 10, 2008). "The 2008 Black List - Most Popular Unproduced Screenplays". FirstShowing.net. Retrieved August 28, 2012.
- Sperling, Nicole (9 February 2010). "Jennifer Garner talks next film: 'Butter'". Inside Movies - EW.com. Retrieved 7 January 2013.
- Brevet, Brad (September 14, 2011). "Harvey Weinstein Turns Toronto 'Butter' Premiere into a Political Statement". Retrieved August 29, 2012.
- "Butter - Rotten Tomatoes". Retrieved 7 January 2013.