It has been almost a year since I attended the 2011 Austin Film Festival and viewed the opening night film, Butter, which also screened at the Toronto International Film Festival the prior month. I was pleasantly surprised with the comedy written by Jason A. Micallef (in attendance) and directed by Jim Field Smith. I went into the theater not knowing a thing about butter carving and walked out quite enlightened. Wikipedia gives a lengthy description of the history and origins of butter sculpture, but after watching the feature film, I have a whole different perspective about butter sculpturing. It is serious business and after checking the Internet, the first listed item for butter carving contests yielded a winner in the Minnesota State Fair in August of this year. I wholly recommend viewing the film’s star, Jennifer Garner, portray her character, Laura Pickler, a serious butter carving competitor in a small town in Iowa, married to Bob Pickler (Ty Burrell) and mother to a teen daughter, Kaitlen (Ashley Greene).
I found it very humorous and very entertaining. Despite the time it has taken to have a theatrical release, with multiple delays along the way, it is a must see in my opinion. If butter sculpture does not seem to sway viewers, it is worth the price of admission just to see Hugh Jackman in a totally different character than ones he is well known for in blockbuster films. I almost did not recognize him as Boyd Bolton. No reveals here, just go see him.
The young star of the show is Yara Shahidi (Salt, Imagine That), as Destiny, a young talented artist who discovers the art of butter carving after she has been adopted. She does it very well and competes against others that are dedicated to the art for decades before she was born. Despite being pitted against ambitious local folks in their town’s annual contest, Destiny can hold her own. She is cute, talented and can be a scene stealer in some cases.
The film also has a varied cast of characters that strut their comedic side, including Olivia Wilde, Alicia Silverstone, Rob Corddry, Ashley Greene and Phyliss Smith, just to name a few. The entire cast makes this an enjoyable film, despite the initial reaction viewers may have to watching a film about butter carving. The writer does add some levity to the subject in the script, but the R rating due to the language and the sexual content certainly keeps it far from being a family film, no matter how cute Destiny is.
This film will have a limited theatrical release, with one theater in Austin on October 5th and VOD as well, in case it is not in your city. I never looked at the butter the same after the film. See what you think.