When Butter first came out, it got slammed by most critics, so let me state once again, I’m not most critics, but I could see inside the director's eye finding the different paths he and the characters chose. What we have here is a below-the-belt jab at the iconic ideals of the American Heartland, while plucking the emotional strings of a simple story. It is flooded with a sharp dry wit that glosses over the pale, stark reality of human nature.
Director Jim Field Smith rises to the occasion with an all-star team. A young girl named Destiny (Yara Shahidi) searches not only for something she is good at, but also love and family, as many of us do. Laura (Jennifer Garner) is searching deep into her heart of hearts not to find but to prove she can accomplish her own dreams and not just ride the coat tails of her famous husband Bob (Ty Burrell), who retires after 15 straight wins at the Iowa State Fair butter-carving conest.
Garner nails it when it comes to busy-body puritan types who have a firm rooted notion or righteous indignation, while Burrell played the ball-less husband who fears his bullying wife. He reminded me of my brother and ex-sister-in-law, no balls and his old lady not only wore the pants but she used the belt on most occasions.
Shahidi’s facial expressions communicated more than the lines she was given, and her performance of a foster child who has been bounced is captured in her reactions to the situations she finds herself being put into, all the while waiting for her biological mother to come back and get her.
Destiny becomes the focal point more than the butter contest. A viewer will hope this sweet child wins in the end, and one would think she has a chance with last set of parents she gets placed. Rob Corddry and Alicia Silverstone play Ethan and Jill Emmet, a young couple who seem out of place in Middle America. Jill especially seems more afraid of taking on the task of providing for an older child than Destiny is in regards to be being placed in another odd home.
The rest of the cast adds to the mix with close to but not so over-the-top actions. Hugh Jackman plays Boyd Bolton, a God-fearing man, who believes the Lord’s plan even includes him having an affair with a married woman. The writers could have embellished Brooke (Olivia Wilde), a prostitute who gets involved with Bob. Her antics were funny but the role could have been expanded more if she were only given more lines.
Like I said, maybe it was me, but Butter made me laugh. I enjoyed and comprehended the film's ideas and sarcasm. The extras aren’t really anything to write about, just a gag reel and deleted and extended scenes, so it might work better as a rental.