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Butter (2012)



Average Rating: 4.6/10
Reviews Counted: 63
Fresh: 21 | Rotten: 42

Despite its talented cast and a few funny moments, Butter's satirical aims are largely undone by a lack of subtlety and air of smugness.


Average Rating: 4/10
Critic Reviews: 24
Fresh: 6 | Rotten: 18

Despite its talented cast and a few funny moments, Butter's satirical aims are largely undone by a lack of subtlety and air of smugness.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 9,643

My Rating

Movie Info

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 until an adopted young black girl (Yara Shahidi) discovers she has an uncanny talent for butter-carving and becomes a late-breaking favorite. -- (C) Weinstein


Drama, Comedy

Jason A. Micallef

Dec 4, 2012


Weinstein Company - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (63) | Top Critics (24) | Fresh (21) | Rotten (42) | DVD (1)

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

October 5, 2012 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

October 5, 2012 Full Review Source: Hollywood Reporter
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

October 5, 2012 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

October 5, 2012 Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

October 5, 2012 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

October 5, 2012 Full Review Source: New York Post
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The final result, however, is a complete oddity that is less an interesting political satire and more the piercing examination of butter carving competitions that no one ever asked for.

November 25, 2013 Full Review Source: Quickflix

The characters want to melt your heart, but like everything in "Butter," they're just too pat.

May 26, 2013 Full Review Source: The Patriot Ledger
The Patriot Ledger

Butter is a dizzying blend of smug satire, surface-level observations and mean-spirited swipes at flyover types. Oh, and take away Olivia Wilde and it's a laugh-free affair.

December 2, 2012 Full Review Source: Big Hollywood
Big Hollywood

A movie concerned with the seemingly ridiculous world of butter carving may not sound like a smart, tear-jerking, must-watch political satire. Yet Jim Field Smith's sophomore effort Butter is all of the above and more.

November 1, 2012 Full Review Source: Paste Magazine
Paste Magazine

Butter has strong moments and has more than a few good jokes, but as a whole it struggles to keep its footing

October 28, 2012 Full Review Source:

As smart, savvy, and witty as the film is at times, it never escapes the inherent identity crisis in its makeup

October 15, 2012 Full Review Source:

Undeniably strange yet sassy, it spreads subversive, thinly-sliced Americana.

October 8, 2012 Full Review Source: SSG Syndicate
SSG Syndicate

A heartland-set train wreck of purported satire that is confusingly edited throughout, and full of false moments which betray a lack of rigorous conceptual thought and honesty.

October 8, 2012 Full Review Source: Shared Darkness
Shared Darkness

The film's skewering of Middle America is so soft, you could easily cut it with -- what else? -- a butter knife.

October 6, 2012 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

It settles for cute when it could have had more bite, and it aims for amusing when it had hilarious in its sights.

October 5, 2012 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Like its namesake, this small-town ensemble comedy is somewhat oily and lacking in flavor.

October 5, 2012 Full Review Source:

Another in a long line of bad films set in the Midwest.

October 5, 2012 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

(D)espite its slights, Butter finds a way to win us over.

October 5, 2012 Full Review Source: PopMatters

Butter contains enough genuine levity to slide down easily.

October 5, 2012 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

Quirky comedy pushes boundaries in the name of laughs.

October 5, 2012 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Garner's Laura is a lazy caricature, a Sarah Palin-style Republican trophy wife in power suit and pearls, but then every character in rookie writer Jim Micallef's script is a flat stereotype.

October 5, 2012 Full Review Source: Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune

With Sarah Palin, the movie's thinly disguised object of derision, now operating on the fringe of mainstream culture, the entire film feels like yesterday's news.

October 5, 2012 Full Review Source: amNewYork

Audience Reviews for Butter

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.
June 8, 2013

Super Reviewer

Cute, and witty. Really well done. Excellent cast. Perfect Sunday afternoon movie....
March 29, 2013

Super Reviewer

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 its 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?
March 7, 2013
Manu Gino

Super Reviewer

"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 dealer. 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."
January 6, 2013

Super Reviewer

    1. 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.
    2. Destiny: There could be a python inside.
    3. Ethan: What if this place is full of monkeys with a deadly virus?
    4. Destiny: It could be the ghost of Hitler.
    5. 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.
    – Submitted by Sarah F (18 months ago)
    1. 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?
    – Submitted by Jillian L (18 months ago)
    1. 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.
    – Submitted by Jillian L (18 months ago)
    1. Ethan Emmet: It's butter. You put it on toast!
    – Submitted by Chris P (23 months ago)
    1. Brooke: I get pregnant like once a month!
    – Submitted by Chris P (23 months ago)
View all quotes (5)

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