Starring Jennifer Garner, Ty Burrell, Olivia Wilde, Hugh Jackman and Yara Shahidi. Written by Jason A. Micallef. Directed by Jim Field Smith. Produced by Kelly Carmichael, Michael DeLuca, Jennifer Garner, Juliana Janes, Ben Ormand, Alissa Phillips and Lisa Satriano.
Jennifer Garner's officially reached her potential as an actress and formed a niche as that neurotic Stepford Wife character that you love to hate. We were shown shades of it in the movie Juno and have been waiting for her to do something along those lines ever since. As Laura Pickler, the power-hungry trophy wife of Bob Pickler (Burrell), the former longtime champion of the state butter carving competition, she's perfect – she makes us feel utterly uncomfortable with her stiff smile and robotic mannerisms. And what's wonderful about her role in this movie is that we actually catch a glimpse of emotion from her – she's not simply a caricature, but a very real and dynamic person, someone who's completely looney but that we feel for and understand at the end of the day.
As her life falls apart, with her hopes of climbing higher on the social ladder being taken away and her husband cheating on her with a stripper named Brooke (Wilde), Laura grasps at the only thing that could potentially make her happy again and enters in the butter contest herself without any real experience or skill. Here to shatter her hopes comes Destiny (Shahidi), a little African American girl new to the predominantly white town who happens to be a naturally skilled carver. The competition heats up between them when they're both passed on to the state competition and Laura will do anything, including playing dirty, to win.
Jackman is Boyd Bolton, Laura's old flame that still has a thing for her and he really thrives playing a simpleton with an ultimately good heart who, in addition to Wilde as a feisty stripper, is responsible for much of the humor in Butter. The movie does a great job of creating a stressful and uptight atmosphere, which makes the outrageous things that are said and done that much funnier. What really makes Butter a likeable film, however, is its ability to turn such a ridiculous subject into a sweet story that will make you think while providing laughs and memorable characters. —Rebecca Hillary