Butter (R) - Runtime: 90 minutes
Starring: Jennifer Garner, Yara Shahidi, Ty Burrell
Director: Jim Field Smith
Writer: Jason A. Micallef
This was a surprise of a movie. Surprsingly warm-hearted and deviously funny at the same time, Butter is a fun movie with a satisfying cast and some good laughs. I completely enjoyed every performance in this movie and found myself laughing a lot more than I expected.
The story is narrated by a little girl named Destiny who seems to find herself going from foster home to foster home. She's not a bad child, in fact, she's one of the most well-behaved little girls I've ever come across. She's landed on the front door of a couple who seem to be the most awesome people in the world. They encourage her to enter a butter sculpture contest and she has an knack for making the best sculptures. But she faces a nasty enemy: Laura Pickler, the wife of renowned butter architect Bob Pickler, who's won the contest for over fifteen years. He's decided to not enter the race and instead, Laura wants to keep pursuing fame and fortune so she decides to enter. There's a few other characters and wrinkles in the story, but it's best left to sit and watch and see how it all plays out.
While the plot sounds innocent enough, this is a very R-rated movie. Laura Pickler is most definitely modeled after Sarah Palin, in full cynical, gotcha mode. The movie makes very little attempt to show her in a positive light. Which is fine - a lot of the laughs come from her inner thoughts about the supposed injustice of her life. The movie successfully balances this devious, R-rated dialogue and material with the more heartwarming and emotional moments. It takes a good fifteen minutes into the movie to really understand and adjust to the up-and-down tone of the movie. But it gets its groove on and the rest of the story flies by.
The one big flaw in Butter is that the characters seem more two dimensional than they ought to. Destiny is almost a saint - she's never really doing anything wrong and she's always polite and doing the right thing. And so are her foster parents - they are the most understanding and fun couple that I've never met because they don't exist in reality. Plus Laura Pickler is almost too crazy and evil that she barely gets anytime for us to see why.
Aside from a few nitpicks here and there - this movie is genuinely funny and completely touching. It manages to blend some really R-rated material with family-friendly messages. It's a weird balance and tone, but it's something you get used to and you'll find yourself laughing a lot more than you expected.
Rating: Rent It!