Butter Blu-ray Review

At least once a year you catch a coming attractions for a film that really whets your appetite only to not have the film play within 100 miles of you.  For me this year that film was BUTTER.  Now that it has arrived on Blu-ray I finally got a chance to see it.  And I wasn’t disappointed.

Hugh Jackman in Butter

Bob and Laura Pickler (Burrell and Garner) are the butter king and queen of Iowa.  That’s not an official title, mind you.  For the past fifteen years Bob has mesmerized the crowds and, more importantly, the judges each year at the state fair with his butter sculptures.  From his early creations, including his interpretation of SCHINDLER’S LIST to his recent masterpiece – The Last Supper – Bob is the undisputed champ.  How good is he?  A reporter from the Des Moines Register called his Last Supper “better than the original.”

Jennifer Garner in Butter

Of course, when you dominate a contest that long, people stop competing against you.  Looking to bring new blood in the contest organizers ask Bob to drop out of the contest this year.  His acquiescence drives Laura mad.  For years she has lived off of the regional fame she and Bob have achieved, even going so far as to dream of Bob in the Governor’s office.  With no discernible talent Laura decides to enter the contest herself.  And, as the saying goes, hijinx ensue!

Olivia Wilde in Butter

A hilarious cross between AMERICAN BEAUTY and DROP DEAD GORGEOUS, BUTTER is blessed with a smart script and a great cast.  Garner is dead on as a woman who longs for the spotlight but always finds herself in the shadows.  Burrell, doing an R-rated turn on his MODERN FAMILY character, makes the most of his hang dog expressions.  He also shows a randy side when he ends up at a strip club, drops a few bucks and makes a new friend.  There is also a sub-plot involving a foster child who moves from house to house, finally ending up under the roof of Ethan and Julie Emmet (Rob Corddry and Alicia Silverstone, both very good).  As the precocious (and talented) child Destiny, Shahidi is wiser then the adults but doesn’t come off as annoying.  And Olivia Wilde has fun as Bob’s new friend, Brooke.  Supporting work by such familiar faces as  Kristen Schaal (30 ROCK) and Phyllis Smith (THE OFFICE) lends to the comedic parts of the film, as does a short cameo by Hugh Jackman playing Laura’s car selling ex-boyfriend.

Jennifer Garner and Ty Burrell in Butter

The screenplay, by freshman writer Jason Micallef, is well crafted with believable characters delivering believable dialogue.  Its sharp tongued but not snarky, a problem that this kind of film sometimes has.  Observational without being condescending, the story moves from situation to situation without missing a beat. Director Smith fills the screen with all things Iowa, including lots of corn fields and sunshine.  And butter.  And for those interested, my friend in Dubuque, Johnny Skibum, tells me the butter carving competition is pretty cutthroat.  Next year’s fair starts on August 8th if you’re interested in attending!

 BLU-RAY REVIEW

Video: Presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio, the 1080p picture transfer is sharp and clear.  The various colors of the Iowa landscape (green corn fields, brown dusty roads) stand out.

Audio: The audio is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and is cleanly presented.

Gag Reel (5:15):  Basically a series of scenes in which the actors either blow their lines or go off on improvisational runs.

Deleted/Extended Scenes (9:09):  Six deleted/extended scenes, of which one was pretty funny and would have added to the laugh total.

OVERALL 3.5
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