Butter is one of the movies that had the potential to be both interesting and funny, shining a spotlight on the people who participate in the somewhat odd hobby of butter competitions. Instead, the movie goes for the lowest common denominator, using Midwestern caricatures to poke fun at the whole thing and being needlessly vulgar in the process. The filmmakers seemed to bend over backward to receive an R-rating even though it would seem butter carving is a sculptural medium that just might provide satire and giggles without gross out humor.
After fifteen years of dominance on the local butter carving circuit, Bob Pickler (Ty Burrell) has been asked to step aside in order to give someone else a chance at the brass ring. This doesn’t go over well with Rob’s wife Laura (Jennifer Garner), who sees Phil’s celebrity status as an entrée to bigger things. Intense and incredibly driven, Laura decides to enter the competition herself.
Little does Laura know, she’ll be facing competition from three very unlikely sources. First, there’s Carol-Ann Stevenson (Kristen Schaal), a cat lady with little artistic talent that doesn’t seem to pose a real threat to Laura. Brooke is (Olivia Wilde), a local bad girl and nude dancer, with whom Bob has been seeing and financial supporting, enters the competition just to spite Laura. The real shock for Laura comes in facing the skills of Destiny (Yara Shahidi), a young African-American orphan trying to find her place with foster parents Ethan (Rob Corddry) and Jill (Alicia Silverstone). As the fair draws closer, Destiny concentrates on her upcoming sculpture with the full support of her foster parents, as Laura goes into panic mode, using all sorts of underhanded tactics to ensure her victory.
Though Kristen Schaal steals every scene she’s in as the inept, Laura-worshipping Carol-Ann Stevenson, Rob Corddry is as pleasant as ever and Hugh Jackman has a fun cameo as Laura’s idiot ex-boyfriend Boyd Bolton, Butter tries to hard to force the laughs and then does an about face with a poignant ending that just serves to point out how shoddy the narrative really is.
Presented in the 2:35:1 aspect ratio, Starz/Anchor Bay has provided a fairly solid 1080p transfer. Colors look totally appropriate, as do flesh tones. Black levels are strong and there’s a high level of detail, most evident during the butter carving scenes. There are no obvious digital anomalies to speak of.
The included 5.1 DTS HD-Master Audio track is solid, delivering clean dialogue largely through the center channel. Music does get some nice enhancement through the surrounds, but generally speaking, this isn’t a particularly active mix and it doesn’t have to be.
There are no audio options, while subtitles are available in English SDH and Spanish.
Aside from a standard DVD, the following special features are included:
- Gag Reel (HD, 5:15) All very standard stuff.
- Deleted & Extended Scenes (HD, 9:04): Pickler Home Video, Destiny Needs Toilet Paper, Laura’s First Speech, Destiny’s Party & Painted URL, Jill Dislikes Laura & Boyd Needs Laura, and Destiny Auditions Butter Ideas.