‘Butter’ Review: Fails At Political Satire

Posted in Film, Reviews by - October 04, 2012
‘Butter’ Review: Fails At Political Satire

Jennifer Garner looked at one of the most popular (in one way or another) women in conservative politics and said, “I’m going to act like that.” At least, that’s what her portrayal of her character, Laura Pickler looked like. Garner sounds exactly like Governor Sarah Palin and dresses like Congresswoman Michelle Bachman, though the actress claims anything relatable to the two women is only coincidental.

“Butter” centers on a couple in small-town Iowa: The Picklers. Bob (Ty Burrell) is the butter-carving champ (yes, that’s right) of the Midwest and his wife Laura (Garner) is the “epitome” of a Christian-conservative housewife. But everything isn’t all hunky-dory in the Pickler household. Bob is secretly going to the local strip club to see Brooke (Olivia Wilde), while Laura is a control-freak, desperate to keep her family’s “picture-perfect” lifestyle in the spotlight. They also have a daughter, Kaitlen (Ashley Greene) whose role is completely unnecessary and stomped on in the film.

When Bob retires from the butter-carving industry, Laura decides she’s going to take up the role as Mrs. Buttersworth, so that the championship remains in the family. Meanwhile, a young foster child, Destiny (Yara Shahidi) also takes up an interest in butter-carving, and it just so happens, she’s pretty good at it. Her foster parents Julie (Alicia Silverstone) and Ethan (Rob Corddry) are willing to support whatever she takes up an interest in to make her feel more at home.

The best scenes in the movie are the one that actually consist of the butter-carving because however strange the premise may be, it’s actually quite fascinating to watch. Plus, “Butter” serves as a showcase for the young Shahidi (2009’s “Imagine That”), who certainly has a career ahead of her in acting, if she chooses.

Both political parties can agree that “Butter” completely fails at political satire. It slams the tea party and conservatives (the whole film is trying to make fun of conservative America) and on the other hand, makes liberals look barking mad.

Another reason the movie fails is that it makes Hugh Jackman look despicable, something no human ever thought was possible. Not sure why the Australian actor took this super small scummy part, Mr. Weinstein maybe? Obviously, Mr. Jackman is allowed to play villainous characters in his career, but the nasty car salesman he plays is an unneccessary addition to the plethora of mean-spirited characters in the film.

Laura Pickler doesn’t have one redeemable quality about her and the fact that we have to watch this character’s journey from start to finish is miserable for the audience. It also doesn’t help that Garner can’t do comedy. She was fantastic in “Juno” and this year’s “The Odd Life of Timothy Green,” but comedy doesn’t suit Mrs. Ben Affleck.

Jason A. Micallef’s script is so jumbled and unfunny, I found myself falling asleep during certain scenes of the film. Laura is certainly the lead character, but when the story shifts to Bob, then to Bob’s hooker, then to little Destiny, it appears that there is no true focus.

With the Election right around the corner, both parties will find that “Butter” ends up insulting both parties in it’s own disgusting way. “Butter” is bad for you, in every way possible. 

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