Random Reviews: Butter
Butter is a movie about the politics of the high stakes world of butter sculpting. Well, sort of. It's a comedy about a little girl (Yara Shahidi) who has been shuffled around from foster home to foster home. She finally gets placed with a family who really seems to want her (Alicia Silverstone and Rob Corddry) but of course she is just waiting for the day when they realize they don't really want her. It's also about local celebrity Bob Pickler (Ty Burrell) and his social status seeking wife (Jennifer Garner). Bob is famous because he has won the state butter sculpting competition for the past 15 years straight. They also have a disgruntled teenage daughter (Ashley Greene) who hates everything about them.
Bob is asked to step aside from the butter sculpting competition to give others a chance. Laura does not like this at all. Destiny discovers she has a talent for the dairy based art form. Laura and Destiny both decide to give butter sculpting a go, and the very sweet and humble Destiny has to go toe to toe with the scheming and manipulative Laura. Others get pulled into the plot, like Hugh Jackman's used car salesmen, who is Laura's ex, and Olivia Wilde's stripper/prostitute, who was stiffed by Bob out of $600 after a moment of weakness led to a sexual encounter.
The movie is funny. It is not tears rolling down your face, gut busting funny, but it is funny. It definitely has a political message to it, but it doesn't beat you over the head with it. It is mostly just fun and sometimes touching. Ty Burrell does a surprisingly good ob at making Bob Pickler sympathetic and believable. Jennifer Garner manages to make you hate her for the course of the movie, then suddenly feel sorry for her at the end. Alicia Silverstone makes you remember why we all loved her once upon a time.
The best two relationships in the movie are between Destiny and her foster Father Ethan, and between Brooke and the Pickler daughter Kailen. Ethan is very honest and supportive with Destiny. He puts her at ease by making her laugh. He goes out of his way to let her know how much he and his wife want her. He is fiercely protective. It is wonderful to see Destiny start to open up to him. I do wish Jill had been more present in the movie (I still like Alicia Silverstone) becuase when she is there, they come across like one of those magical couples who are perfect for each other, and who all the other couples want to be friends with.
Kaitlen and Brooke's relationship isn't sweet at all, and in fact is one of the more twisted plot threads in the movie. Kaitlen meets Brooke when the latter shows up at the Pickler house demanding money that Bob owes her for sex. Kaitlen lets her in and becomes infatuated. Brooke is only interested in Kaitlen because she claims she can get her the money she is owed. Brooke is willing to use any means to get her revenge through the Pickler daughter, even sex.
Sex is also Laura's weapon of choice, as she recruits her ex, now a used car salesman, to help her destroy a little girl. Hugh Jackman is the only actor in the movie to go over the top in how he plays his role, but it works out for him. Being the only character in the movie (with the possible exception of Brooke) who is completely unsympathetic from beginning to end, it helps that he is so ridiculous.
The movie has sad and touching moments, but never tips over into full on shmaltz. It is funny and political, without being too in your face with either. It'snot afraid to be dirty, but never goes full on raunchy or gross out. It is not likely to be the best movie you watch in any given year, or month, or even week. But it is a fun and enjoyable movie that is worth watching. It currently sits at 33% on Rotten Tomatoes. Reading the reviews it looks like critics thought it should have been darker. But I am okay with a light satire sometimes. I actually appreciate that the movie manages to be clever and twisted and still keep a light tone. The fat that it wasn't trying to be like every other comedy out there made it stand out for me.
The movie is available now to stream on Netflix. I definitely recommend giving it a watch.