Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Run Time: 1 hour 30 minutes, Rated R
Starring: Olivia Wilde, Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Garner, Ashley Greene, Ty Burrell, Alicia Silverstone, Kristen Schaal, Rob Corddry, Yara Shahidi
Directed by Jim Field Smith (She’s Out of My League)
Opening today in limited release is a film that probably deserves it. Butter is a zany comedy that grossly under-uses a very talented cast. How can a film starring Modern Family’s Ty Burrell, 30 Rock’s Kristen Schaal, and Children’s Hospital’s Rob Corddry not be funny? Here comes the intended pun about Butter: “I can’t believe it’s not better!”
The squandering of talent doesn’t stop there. Jennifer Garner, Olivia Wilde, Hugh Jackman and Alicia Silverstone all show up too. It’s like assembling a group of great singers for a dance-off. Or taking your home-run hitter and pitching him. How do you get these types of actors involved in the same film, and give them absolutely nothing to do? A better question: What in the world are these actors doing in a film like this?
I guess I should explain the plot. Ty Burrell plays Bob Pickler, who is a famous butter-carver. Apparently in Idaho there are “butter-carving competitions” and this movie gives us a peek into this exciting world. Jennifer Garner is his wife, giving her best Sarah Palin impression. When Bob retires from the “sport,” his wife decides to enter.
Other competitors include Kristen Schaal, and a little girl played by Yara Shahidi. Then Olivia Wilde shows up as a prostitute/stripper trying to collect some cash from Bob. Then Hugh Jackman shows up to have an affair with Jennifer Garner. What all of these scenes have to do with one another is beyond me.
The lasting impact of Butter may very well be that it introduces butter-carving to the masses. Certainly, butter-carving is the kind of activity that I would not have been surprised to hear goes on in Idaho. But what a wasted opportunity that Butter lets slip away, to churn out such tasteless, bland dreck given the rich ingredients it started with.
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