‘Butter’ is a fabulous comedy starring Oliva Wilde (Brooke Swinkowski), Jennifer Garner (Laura Pickler), Hugh Jackman (Boyd Bolton) and Yara Shahidi (Destiny). Directed by Jim Field Smith, a comedian himself (British sketch group ‘The Dutch Elm Conservatory’), ‘Butter’ uses the world of competitive butter sculpting as a vehicle for witty political commentary.
Laura Pickler (Jennifer Garner) will remind you of at least one prominent female republican (Sarah Palin or Michelle Bachman). With her conservative ideals and love of an outdated (pre-civil rights movement) America, Laura Pickler is a perfect caricature of your average Tea Party supporter. Her life in Iowa consists of two things: polishing the veneer of her appearance and going to any length to support her husband Bob Pickler (Ty Burrell) as the reigning Midwest Butter Carving Champion, a distinction he had held for the past 15 years. When Bob announces his retirement from butter carving, Laura’s world comes to a spinning halt. Refusing to envision the loss of what she considers to be their family title, Laura enters herself as a butter-carving contestant. She will go to any length to win. As Laura goes to war to claim the title, the ensuing confrontations are hilarious.
Other competitors in the championship butter-carving contest include a sweet 12 year old African-American orphan Destiny (Yara Shahidi) and Brooke (Oliva Wilde) a spiteful stripper/prostitute who enters the competition to enrage Laura. Brooke has been providing Laura’s husband with her ‘services’ and he has wracked up quite a bill. Boyd Bolton (Hugh Jackman) is a car sales man that Laura sleeps with to enlist his help in destroying Destiny’s chances of winning. In the final side splitting contest the gloves are off as Laura attempts to win at all costs. She realizes that her real calling may lie in the political arena following in the footsteps of the likes of Sarah Palin.
This is a very funny screenplay, wonderfully acted, dealing cleverly with some of the current ridiculous political agendas in the US. Executive producer Harvey Weinstein took the unusual step of sending a letter that was read at Butter’s TIFF World Premiere, inviting Michelle Bachman and other Tea Party members to attend a special screening in Iowa.