‘Butter,’ reviewed by Marshall Fine


Would “Butter” be a funnier movie if Michele Bachmann were still at the center of the American political conversation?

Of course not. Bachmann is her own perpetual punchline, more extreme and ridiculous than any satirist’s imagination. If you wrote her as a character, she would be unbelievable. Her truth is so much stranger than fiction.

Which doesn’t mean that “Butter” isn’t a very funny movie. It is. While Jennifer Garner does seem to be channeling Bachmann (and doing it wonderfully), “Butter” is about more than simply making fun of one delusional Minnesota congresswoman.

Rather, Jim Field Smith’s delicious spoof isn’t ostensibly about politics at all – it’s about butter and the sculpting thereof. Garner plays Laura Pickler, wife of Bob Pickler (Ty Burrell), who has won the annual butter-sculpting contest at the local county fair near their Iowa home several years running (with sculptures like an interpretation of “Schindler’s List” in butter). But his victories have been so consistent that the officials who run the contest have decided to retire his crown and open the competition to new talent this year.

This infuriates Laura, for whom the reflected glory of her husband’s victories are one of the few bright spots in a life marked by disappointment at, well, being stuck as a housewife in small-town Iowa, with only her nerdy husband and her disdainful teen-age daughter (Ashley Greene) as company. So she decides that, in order to keep the trophy in the family, she will train for the contest and win it herself.

This review continues on my website.

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