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3.0 2
Director: Jim Field Smith

Cast: Jennifer Garner, Olivia Wilde, Ashley Greene


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Jim Field Smith's gentle satire Butter stars Jennifer Garner as Laura Pickler, the wife of the longtime winner of a local butter-carving contest. When he decides to bow out of this year's competition, she can't imagine the family not having the title, so she begins to train herself. Her biggest


Jim Field Smith's gentle satire Butter stars Jennifer Garner as Laura Pickler, the wife of the longtime winner of a local butter-carving contest. When he decides to bow out of this year's competition, she can't imagine the family not having the title, so she begins to train herself. Her biggest rival turns out to be a young adopted African-American girl named Destiny (Yara Shahidi), who has a natural gift for sculpture. As the competition gets more and more fierce, Laura resorts to drastic measures, convincing an old flame to perform some dirty tricks in order to get the upper hand. Butter screened at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
Jim Field Smith's mild political satire Butter is a thinly veiled spoof of the 2008 race for the Democratic presidential nomination between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, transplanted to a quirky contest in America's heartland. The movie stars Jennifer Garner as Laura Pickler, the high-strung wife of local superstar Bob Pickler (Ty Burrell), who has won the town's annual butter-carving contest every year he's competed in it. Bob is a legend thanks to his prowess in the event, but this year he decides he's done with it and gives his highly ambitious wife the chance to step into the spotlight. She enters the competition, in part out of her own outsized need to win, and also to get back at Bob for his endless string of infidelities that she's quietly lived with throughout their marriage. With her stiff posture, pinched mouth, and driven-by-sheer-tenacity glare, Laura Pickler will remind many of recent right-wing presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann. However, she also resembles Hillary not only due to the allusions to Bill Clinton's hounddog past, but because Laura's biggest adversary turns out to be a preternaturally even-tempered, elementary-school-age, adopted black girl named Destiny (Yara Shahidi). At that point, the events of 2008 echo loudly. Annoying Laura even further, a third party enters the contest in the form of Brooke Swinkowski (Olivia Wilde), Bob Pickler's sexiest and most persistent mistress. Unable to accept that she might not be victorious, Laura resorts to drastic and unethical measures to win, including calling on the services of an unscrupulous ex-boyfriend (Hugh Jackman). The script by first-time screenwriter Jason Micallef certainly has originality in its favor. The unique collision of offbeat Christopher Guest-inspired small-town insanity and insistent (though never explicit) political satire makes it difficult to know what twists and turns are coming. In addition, Smith's direction is solid, getting laughs out of the various jokes and giving the actors room to be as broad as something this silly requires without making them overly cartoonish -- "overly" being the key word. There are laughs to be had throughout Butter thanks to the fine work by the cast: Shahidi has a wonderful face and delivers a number of monologues with winning ease, Garner's control-freak meltdowns are a kick, Rob Corddry finally gets to play something other than an obnoxious jackass as Destiny's dad, Wilde is heart-stoppingly sexy, and Burrell turns Bob into a himbo of the highest comedic order. If only Butter added up to a little more, all of their fine work would have coalesced into something much better. It settles for cute when it could have had more bite, and it aims for amusing when it had hilarious in its sights.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Region Code:
[Wide Screen, Color]
[Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Gag reel; Deleted and extended scenes

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jennifer Garner Laura
Olivia Wilde Brooke
Ashley Greene Kaitlen
Hugh Jackman Boyd Bolton
Alicia Silverstone Jill
Ty Burrell Bob Pickler
Yara Shahidi Destiny
Rob Corddry Ethan
Kristen Schaal Carol-Ann
Phyllis Smith Nancy
Garrett Schenk Orval Flanagan
Andrew Daly Announcer
Judy Leavell Helen Flanagan
Joe Chrest Butter Fan
Deanna Ricks Butter Fan's Wife
Kelly Tippens Mrs. Moore
Dodie Brown June Carmichael
Jeanne Evans Mrs. Gunderson
Cindy Creekmore Danielle Mattingly
Christine Scheller Transitional Home Assistant
Brett Hill Hayden
Corena Chase Miss Schram
Mark Oliver Martina Caswell
Pruitt Taylor Vince Ned Eaton

Technical Credits
Jim Field Smith Director
Carmen Cuba Casting
Michael De Luca Producer
Jennifer Garner Producer
Louisa Gore Makeup
Josh Hakian Special Effects Supervisor
Juliana Janes Executive Producer
Jason Micallef Screenwriter
Ed Novick Sound Mixer
Benjamin Ormand Executive Producer
Alissa Phillips Producer
Greg Richman Art Director
Lisa Satriano Asst. Director
Harvey Weinstein Executive Producer
Bob Weinstein Executive Producer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Butter
1. Scene 1 [3:56]
2. Scene 2 [4:32]
3. Scene 3 [5:31]
4. Scene 4 [5:23]
5. Scene 5 [8:04]
6. Scene 6 [7:08]
7. Scene 7 [4:40]
8. Scene 8 [9:18]
9. Scene 9 [7:51]
10. Scene 10 [6:38]
11. Scene 11 [6:32]
12. Scene 12 [4:27]
13. Scene 13 [6:33]
14. Scene 14 [1:46]
15. Scene 15 [1:50]
16. Scene 16 [6:09]


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Butter 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Nadina85 More than 1 year ago
What do a stripper, a housewife and an orphan all have in common? Butter. More specifically, butter carving. In small-town Iowa, the annual butter carving contest is a chance for vengeful lovers, ambitious politicos and youthful dreamers to prove their worth and, perhaps, make a much needed change. When I heard about the concept behind Butter, I knew it was meant to be. It involves the most unusual combination of dynamic personalities like, ever, competing in a butter carving contest! Does it get more ridiculous than that? But Butter isn't all absurdity, oh no, it's much more than that. Butter is a smug satire that will jostle you with its provacative humour, and at the same time, touch you with the endearing message behind it. The synopsis may be unconventional but the ensemble is full of familiar faces and is one worth noting. In Butter, the women take the lead with Jennifer Garner, Olivia Wilde and newcomer, Yara Shahidi, all delivering strong performances. I have to say, Shahidi and Wilde blew me away with clever, tongue-in-cheek characterizations of both an orphan and stripper respectively. Seriously, I was completely caught off guard, especially by Wilde. They are, by far, the best and most unexpected performances in the entire film. And the hilarious scenes with Shahidi and her adoptive father (played by Rob Cordrry) are second to none! But while I do find the movie entertaining, it does sometimes verge on inauthentic, the humour occasionally lacking in subtlety and finesse. Another problem is that the movie is pieced together like a series of comedy sketches rather than having the organic flow that it should. This isn't director, Jim Field Smith's, first rodeo by way of comedy either. I was actually quite fond of his 2010 debut of She's Out Of My League. Being Field Smith's sophmore work, Butter isn't always spot on but when he gets it, he really gets it. The humour is mostly politically centric and takes on a superior sort of attitude which will score with some and offend others. But hey! That's what a satire is supposed to do, right? At the core, Butter is a little indie film with frequent laughs and lots of heart. On the surface, Butter may not seem like anything other than a series of ridiculous hijinks, but if you take the time to dig below the surface, you'll find a touching farce that speaks volumes about American culture, politics and ambition. And yes, though it sometimes misses the mark, it'll still manage to melt your heart... just like warm butter.
moose55 More than 1 year ago
I loved this movie. Highly recommend.