A biting black comedy set in the bizarrely competitive world of butter
carving, Butter boasts an ensemble cast and a quirky concept that
usually equates to indie success. So, is Butter an artery
hardening banquet of full-fat goodness or is it more akin to that Copha
stuff your crazy aunt insists on putting on your sandwiches?
The Picklers, played by Modern Family’s Ty Burrell and a brilliantly
on-form Jennifer Garner, appear to be your archetypical American couple,
spending their time swanning around town and basking in the adulation
that comes with Bob Pickler being the town’s reigning butter carving
From a young age Bob had had a natural affinity for carving elaborate
sculptures out of simple blocks of butter, a talent he’d managed to
parlay into a fully fledged career; however, this year competition
officials have asked Bob to step down and relinquish his title to allow
someone else the chance to shine.
Bob doesn’t seem too perturbed by this request and agrees, much to the
chagrin of wife Laura. Outwardly amicable and professional, Laura is in
reality a seething mass of neurosis and maliciousness; fearing that her
social standing as Queen Bee of the town will be compromised if a
Pickler is no longer the butter carving champion, Laura endeavours to
enter the competition and claim the title for herself - by any means
She soon finds herself locking horns with foster child Destiny (Yara
a butter carving prodigy, and Brooke (Olivia Wilde), a stripper with
whom Bob enjoyed some carnal pleasures and is now being extorted by; as
the competition becomes more and more fierce, Laura finds herself
resorting to drastic lengths to ensure that first prize ribbon is hers.
Rounding out the cast are Alicia Silverstone, Kristen Schaal and Rob
Corddry in supporting roles.
is a black comedy with many familiar themes that belie the esoteric
central premise of the film. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite reach its
potential. Despite a glowing ensemble cast (Of which Hugh Jackman was my
favourite), Butter seems unsure of where it wants to go with its story.
The deliciously manipulative Laura Pickle makes for a great antagonist
but the role of Destiny lacks quite a bit of development. Despite being
the primary protagonist, her scenes were thinly sketched and seemed only
to serve as a counterpoint for the caricature of evil that is Laura.
This makes identifying with the character nearly impossible, shifting
the focus and tone of the film. It almost seems like we should root for
Destiny only because she represents “good”, not because of any emotional
attachment to the character. Other sub-plots peter out without
resolution, and even the main story arc is meandering. Butter
relies on its smug quirkiness at the expense of strong characterisation
and, as mentioned before, certain aspects of the story seemed
perfunctory or even superfluous.
has a nice, clean image with natural textures and fine detail
resplendent in their splendour. A light grain settles over the image and
there are no overt signs of aliasing or artefacts. The colour palette is
incredibly natural and defined and levels remain consistent throughout.
Audio is presented with a robust (And now almost customary)
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack. Ambient sounds and musical
cues are handled well, and the dialogue, this film’s bread and butter,
is crisp and clearly delineated. Overall an impressive transfer,
Butter ticks off all of the boxes.
Containing only a brief gag reel and a selection of deleted scenes,
Butter is a little light in regards to extras. The deleted scenes
are amusing enough, but for the most part it’s obvious why they were
excised. Strangely, the Blu-Ray’s running time is 3 minutes longer than
the DVD release, despite no mention being made of an extended version.
List of Features:
Deleted Scenes (9:04)
Gag Reel (5:15)
Despite not reaching its potential, Butter is an enjoyable
satirical jab at Midwestern culture that carries itself with enough
aplomb that one is willing to overlook its shortcomings. Any fears that
the central conceit behind the film would be impenetrable to those
unfamiliar with the world of butter carving are assuaged within the
first ten minutes as the films settles into the rhythm of skewering
social conventions. Slightly disappointing, Butter is still worth
at least a rental.