Iowa's reigning butter sculpting champ, Bob, has been winning the annual butter sculpture event for over a decade running. In an attempt to give someone else a chance, Bob is asked to step down, in which he reluctantly agrees. His wife, Laura, an ambitious and uptight woman, takes this as an insult to the name in which her husband has built and decides to enter the contest herself to keep the trophy in the family. Laura figures she is a shoo-in to win the competition but when Destiny, a young, adopted African-American girl enters the race, the competition is neck and neck. Jason Field Smith's Butter is a not so subtle, scathing satire of Mid-west culture in which it sets its sights on the conservative and/or rural types. The film is rather smug in its satire, and I found its generalizations to be a little too over-the-top and meandering for my taste. Laura is like the manifestation of every conservative stereotype, and Jenniffer Garner plays her with reckless abandonment which is huge factor in elevating Buttler above the smug, assured direction into ultimately a pretty fun, little experience. At times Butter seems unsure as to what it wants to be, featuring this scathing commentary yet consisting of a cute, light-hearted conclusion. This indecision on the part of the filmmakers leads to the film suffering a bit because of this uneven tone. At one point Butter even touches on the idea behind artistic expression, another interesting theme which is not explored to the extent it should have been. Butter is certainly an entertaining film that features quite a few funny moments mostly courtesy of Garner's performance, but its lack of focus in terms of overall theme leaves it merely serviceable instead of extraordinary.
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