Anchor Bay’s new movie, Butter, is one of the funniest movies of 2012. This twisted and quirky dramedy is unlike anything out there both in the mainstream and even indie universe. It’s twisted, yes. But it also has just enough heart to touch audiences and make them laugh at the same time. Add in a nice paced story, and the movie’s ninety-one minute run time passes by before audiences even realize it.
The story behind Butter centers on Laura Pickler (Jennifer Garner—ABC’s Alias) and ten-year old Destiny (Yara Shahidi). The pair end up facing off against one another at the Iowa State Fair butter carving championship as a result of Laura’s Husband Bob (Ty Burrell—ABC’s Modern Family) being asked to step down from the annual local butter carving contest as he had won too many years. Things only get worse when Laura discovers that Bob had been having an affair with a stripper named Brooke (Olivia Wilde). When Brooke enters the contest and loses, leaving only Destiny to face Laura, Laura’s determination to win gets way out of hand, leading to the story’s twisted comedy. Garner is absolutely hilarious in her role as the overzealous wife of the former state butter carving champion. She is reminiscent of Mandy Moore in Saved. Her vindictive nature is so over the top that audiences won’t be able to control their laughter.
In contrast to Laura Pickler, Destiny will not only make people laugh but also will tug at audiences’ heart strings. Her attitude will make people root for her and laugh all at the same time. Seeing her put up against Laura’s overzealous, holier-than-thou personality makes Destiny that much more of a sympathetic character. She’s so innocent yet also edgy in her own right. Although she is an orphan, she hasn’t let being sent from home to home define who she is. She is still very much a confident, strong-willed young woman, yet she is still the exact opposite of Laura Pickler. That total contrast of personalities makes both the comic and dramatic moments enjoyable.
Writer Jason A. Micallef did an impressive job balancing the twisted, quirky comedy with the story’s more emotional moments without going too emotional. That balance helped to make the story’s ninety-one minute run time pass by with so much ease. The pacing was perfect, too, to add in to that. Not one moment in this story felt like it dragged. And that the A-list supporting cast didn’t overpower Garner or Shahidi, either. It would have been so easy for director Jim Field Smith to let the supporting cast carry the movie, being A-listers. But paired together, Shahidi and Garner carried the movie effortlessly on their backs. Fellow veterans Hugh Jackman, Alicia Silverstone, and Rob Corddry obviously understood this, sticking to their supporting roles, and thus making the movie that much more of a joy.
So much went in to making Butter the surprisingly enjoyable story that it is. From the writing of Jason A. Micallef to the direction of Jim Field Smith to the balanced acting of the top name cast, everything came together to make this story another of the year’s best indie flicks. It’s one more movie that proves to audiences independent films can be and are in many cases, just as enjoyable as major motion pictures released by the industry’s biggest studios.
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