The setting: a closely watched contest in Iowa, the heartland of America and, to some, the bellwether of the nation. Initially, a win seems all but assured for the poised candidate with the famous name and a family legacy to claim. But then, the twist: a rival emerges, fresh-faced, appealing, effortlessly charismatic. Suddenly, it’s anybody’s game.
Hillary Rodham Clinton vs. Barack Obama? Mitt Romney vs. Michelle Bachman?
No. Wrong contest.
A tale of competition at its most cut-throat, Butter surveys the raw ambition of Laura Pickler (Jennifer Garner), the wife of Bob Pickler (Ty Burrell), Iowa’s long-reigning champion butter carver. For 15 years, Laura has relished her high-profile role as the beautiful, loyal helpmate to her affable, artistically gifted husband. But when Bob is pressured to retire and allow someone else a chance at glory, an indignant Laura decides to enter the competition herself. She is first in line on sign-up day, only to see her odds of victory fall below 100with the arrival of an unlikely yet formidable contender: 10-year-old Destiny (Yara Shahidi), the African-American foster child of local couple Julie and Ethan (Alicia Silverstone and Rob Corddry). And that’s not all. Bob’s would-be mistress, bad-girl stripper Brooke (Olivia Wilde) also declares her candidacy, as does his #1 fan, Carol-Ann (Kristen Schaal).
Facing three opponents, mocked by her stepdaughter Kaitlen (Ashley Greene) and furious with her husband, Laura resolves to do whatever it takes to win. And if that means resorting to sabotage – and recruiting her dim-witted former boyfriend Boyd (Hugh Jackman) as a co-conspirator – then so be it.
In the tradition of Best in Show and Election, Butter can be enjoyed as a straightforward, albeit merrily twisted, comedy about American life and culture. But Laura Pickler probably wouldn’t be surprised if the liberal media views Butter as a veiled commentary on the larger world of politics. Butter is directed by Jim Field Smith from a screenplay by Jason Micallef. The producers are Michael De Luca, Jennifer Garner and Alissa Phillips, and the executive producers are Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein, Kelly Carmichael, Benjamin Ormand and Juliana Janes.