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Jennifer Garner, Olivia Wilde, Ashley Greene, Hugh Jackman, Alicia Silverstone ... see more see more... , Ty Burrell , Yara Shahidi , Rob Corddry , Kristen Schaal , Phyllis Smith , Garrett Schenk , Andrew Daly , Judy Leavell , Joe Chrest , Deanna Ricks , Kelly Tippens , Dodie Brown , Jeanne Evans , Cindy Creekmore , Christine Scheller , Brett Hill , Corena Chase , Mark Oliver , Pruitt Taylor Vince

Butter follows an ambitious woman (Jennifer Garner) who is married to Iowa's reigning butter sculpting champ (Ty Burrell) but decides to enter the race on her own when he retires. She's the shoo-in un... read more read more...til an adopted young black girl (Yara Shahidi) discovers she has an uncanny talent for butter-carving and becomes a late-breaking favorite. -- (C) Weinstein

Flixster Users

45% liked it

9,638 ratings


33% liked it

63 critics

R, 1 hr. 31 min.

Directed by: Jim Field Smith

Release Date: October 5, 2012

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DVD Release Date: December 4, 2012

Stats: 563 reviews

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Flixster Reviews (563)

  • June 8, 2013
    Who knew butter could be so interesting. Lol. This kind of reminded me of "Election". Jennifer Garner's overachieving character definitely had a Tracey Flick vibe to her. Bitching, backstabbing, a scheming hooker, what's not to like in this very black little comedy drama.
  • March 29, 2013
    Cute, and witty. Really well done. Excellent cast. Perfect Sunday afternoon movie....
  • March 7, 2013
    There's going to be a meltdown.

    Good decent movie! Butter is a delightful little comedy that has most of its best jokes in the trailer but still manages to make you smile throughout. I'll admit, when I watched this I didn't have particularly high hopes. The film's strength is it... read mores short run-time. At a little over 80 minutes, the film opens up quick, makes you chuckle and sometimes laugh, and wraps up before you worry about its problems. It is necessary for me to address these problems but I honestly didn't care much for them. I had a lot of fun watching it.

    In Iowa, laid-back Bob has won the state fair's butter-carving contest 15 years running; his tightly-wound and hard-charging wife Laura sees Bob becoming governor, so when the contest organizers ask him to step aside so others can win, she's incensed; when Bob won't protest, she decides to enter herself. In the county contest, she's up against Destiny, an African-American foster child, and Brooke, a prostitute Bob hasn't paid. When things don't go Laura's way, she enlists the help of Boyd, an old boyfriend. Laura's step-daughter and Destiny's foster parents are in the mix as things heat up at the state fair. What are Destiny and Laura's destiny?
  • January 6, 2013
    "What a fun quirky film. You never know what your going to get with an indie flick. In this one you get a butter sculptor, crazy stepford wife, a stripper, lesbian daughter (getting some lesbian action for you gals and guys who enjoy that stuff), an orphan, and a hillbilly car de... read morealer. Yes, all in one movie. If that doesn't draw you to this movie like a fly to an electric bug zapper (I'm not going to pretend I know what those are formally called), I don't know what would. I liked it. It was funny. I laughed even more when they showed the blooper reel at the ending. My favorite being of Olivia eating shit on the bike. Good times."
  • November 29, 2012
    Annoying characters with forced personalities.
  • fb100001050230219
    September 21, 2012
    ''Butter'' has an extremely likeable cast, but it's too predictable, repetitive and bland to warrant a strong recommendation.
  • February 20, 2014
    In "Butter," Bob Pickler(Ty Burrell) has won the county butter sculpting contest for the last fifteen years. So, the powers-the-be have decided to give somebody else a chance. After she calms down somewhat, his wife Laura(Jennifer Garner) figures it might as well be her and wou... read moreld have had a very easy time of it if not for destiny. Sorry, make that Destiny(Yara Shahidi), a ten-year old orphan who has spent most of life going from one foster home to another and also has a prodigious talent for art in any form.

    I might have been of a mind to like "Butter" if only it could have made up its mind about what kind of movie it wanted to be. Destiny's touching story clashes wildly with the movie's awkward sense of humor that is much more condescending than satire.(The one laugh out loud moment in the movie combined the weirdest product placement and a truly private joke.) Not helping matters is the lack of comic timing from both Jennifer Garner and Olivia Wilde, with Garner also not being able to locate her inner Jessica Lange. That leaves Rob Corddry of all people to walk off with scenes, by being as down to earth as possible.
  • April 1, 2013
    Exploring the seedy underbelly of competitive butter carving, Butter is a dark comedy the tries too hard. In a small Iowa town a local butter carving competition turns ugly when the competitors set out to settle their personal scores with each other. The cast is actually pretty... read more good, and includes Jennifer Garner, Olivia Wilde, Hugh Jackman, and Alicia Silverstone. While the film has some fun parts, the story goes to bizarre places and is overloaded with convoluted subplots. Yet despite its problems, Butter delivers a fair amount of laughs and it full of interesting characters.
  • September 12, 2013
    "Butter" is a star-studded jaunt into Midwest humor that doesn't quite hit its mark but still entertains with the amount of recognizable faces it contains. In cameos, Hugh Jackman and Olivia Wilde show just how impressive they are, as they steal the show on more than one occasion... read more, as does the young Yara Shahidi. The rest of the cast plays their parts accordingly and never really go above and beyond. Is it just me, or is it tough to see Ty Burrell in anything but "Modern Family"? Many directors take jabs at Midwest humor, including Michael Patrick Jann with "Drop Dead Gorgeous", Christopher Guest with many of his films, and now Jim Field Smith ("She's Out Of My League") and although the sport of butter carving does scream some Midwest mentalities, "Butter" never accomplishes the mocking annals that the previous directors' work. Carrying very few laughs, the most interesting work done in the film is the character development, with strong characters forming, mostly against type, like that of Jackman and his auto salesman character. Jennifer Garner's character is the perfect villain, with a spot-on, prissy performance that makes you hate her from start to finish. Had "Butter" done more than just scratch the surface of satire, this could have been a much more memorable film. Instead, it remains an average attempt at poking fun at deep-fried on a stick, Middle Americans.
  • June 12, 2013
    With plenty of well-known actors dancing around this film, its a surprise the script is so frustrating to follow. There isn't much finesse in way jokes are delivered. This is supposed to be a satirical movie aimed at the midwest, but what you get is a jumbled movie with two con... read moreflicting problems between Jennifer Gardner's character and the little girl. The little girl is endearing and actually provides the meat of the story you actually want to pay attention to, but it's quickly chopped down when Gardner's character's ambition goes too far. Granted at only 90 minutes, not much is given for character development, but I got a kick out of Hugh jackman and Olivia Wilde playing brash versions of characters you'd usually never see them play.

Critic Reviews

Peter Debruge
October 5, 2012
Peter Debruge, Variety

A wicked Midwest satire with razor blades stashed beneath its bright candy-apple surface. Full Review

Todd McCarthy
October 5, 2012
Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter

Hardly the high-priced spread, this condescending comedy about Middle America will score with some audiences and put off others. Full Review

Nick Schager
October 5, 2012
Nick Schager, Village Voice

Plays like one long, slow descent into cloying moralizing and uplift that's well past its expiration date. Full Review

Stephen Whitty
October 5, 2012
Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger

The movie's entire superior attitude is kind of annoying. Full Review

Sean O'Connell
October 5, 2012
Sean O'Connell, Washington Post

We're still just scratching the surface of witty, provocative humor as long as envelope-pushing directors such as Jim Field Smith continue to find work. Full Review

Kyle Smith
October 5, 2012
Kyle Smith, New York Post

At times, the Midwestern satire "Butter" is almost funny, and in its honor I almost laughed. Full Review

Tom Long
October 5, 2012
Tom Long, Detroit News

Director Jim Field Smith keeps the quirky characters coming with smooth efficiency and throws in some nice touches along the way. Full Review

Mick LaSalle
October 4, 2012
Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

At 90 minutes it feels inflated, and though clearly intended as funny, it's difficult to locate, except in the most general terms, the focus of the movie's satire, and there's not a laugh to be had. Full Review

Sheri Linden
October 4, 2012
Sheri Linden, Los Angeles Times

Given the talent assembled for this diversion, you can't believe it's not better. Full Review

John Anderson
October 4, 2012
John Anderson, Wall Street Journal

The film grows increasingly mirthful as the characters come into focus, and the casting is the key: Ms. Garner, who also helped produce the film, has a gift for catty roles ... Full Review

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    • Ethan: You could die of a tragic butter overdose. There could be a rabid grizzly bear hiding inside this very moose lodge waiting to tear your face off.
    • Destiny: There could be a python inside.
    • Ethan: What if this place is full of monkeys with a deadly virus?
    • Destiny: It could be the ghost of Hitler.
    • Ethan: What if there's no gravity in there and you float up and bang your head on the ceiling? And then all the sudden gravity kicks in and you bang your head on the floor.
    • Destiny: My new foster parents and everyone at my new school were so nice, that I couldn't help but think, are these crackers for real?
    • Brooke: Hey, I know you're only like 10 and shit, but listen up. You beat that skanky ass bitch. You beat her hard. I've done all I can do. It's up to you know.
    • Ethan Emmet: It's butter. You put it on toast!
    • Brooke: I get pregnant like once a month!

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