The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Anchor Bay - 2011
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 91 minutes
Disc Format: BD-25
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Jennifer Garner, Ty Burrell, Olivia Wilde, Rob Corddry, Ashley Greene, Alicia Silverstone, Hugh Jackman, Yara Shahidi
Directed by: Jim Field Smith
Music by: Mateo Messina
Written by: Jason Micallef
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: December 4, 2012
In Iowa, butter carving is as cut-throat as a Presidential election, plagued with scandal, greed, blackmail, and sex—except with butter! When long-reigning champion butter sculptor, Bob Pickler (Ty Burrell), is forced to step down, his zealous wife, Laura (Jennifer Garner) enters the competition herself, to fight for their status as butter royalty. A win seems virtually guaranteed for the poised and studied candidate when a formidable contender emerges: the fresh-faced, effortlessly charismatic 10-year-old Destiny (Yara Shahidi), an African-American foster child of local couple, Jill and Ethan (Alicia Silverstone and Rob Corddry). Suddenly, it‘s anybody‘s game and Laura will do anything to win—even if it means resorting to sabotage and seducing her foolish ex-boyfriend Boyd (Hugh Jackman) as a co-conspirator.
Butter is a quirky and at times oddly dark satire set in middle America that revolves around a small community and its annual butter carving event. Jason Micallef’s script delves into societal and familial/marital themes that are fueled by the overt ambitions of a snooty socialite named Laura Pickler. This is contrasted by the parallel story of a 10 year old girl that has bounced around the foster care system, recently landed in what appears to be a genuinely loving home and has discovered that she has a true talent for butter carving. After years as the butter carving champion, Laura’s husband Bob is politely asked to step aside by the local committee. Laura refuses to relinquish the status afforded in that regard and opts to step into the competition herself. Laura’s controlling nature and tenacious resolve has earned quite a reputation within the community which essentially leaves no one willing to go up against her in the annual event. That is until Destiny decides that she has something viable to contribute and enters.
Clearly nestled on comedic footings the storyline teeters back and forth between the sentimentality associated with Destiny’s need for a family and emotional expression through her carving, and the pervading effects of Laura’s sassy subversion on nearly everyone involved. The subtext can get a little preachy and Laura is drawn as a caricature of a republican trophy wife with many contemporary characterizations and formulaic situations coinciding with that. Fortunately there are moments of rewarding interaction and funny bone tickling levity that elevate Butter from a middling dramedy to an above average one. Much of this is owed to a subplot involving a snarky exotic dancer named Brooke and the presence of Destiny, who doesn’t seem to comfortably fit within the narrative’s construct, which is something that can be perceived as either the film’s strength or weakness.
Olivia Wilde as Brooke is not only sizzling hot but manages to steal nearly every scene she is in providing some of the film’s best lines and eyebrow raising moments. As a Jennifer Garner fan I am always happy to see her onscreen and she has no trouble handing Laura and like Olivia pulls it off with aplomb. The remaining cast, including a cameo by Hugh Jackman, is full of familiar faces most of whom do justice to their respective roles. In the end Butter proved to be an entertaining albeit thematically shifting film that didn’t feel like a time waster.
The rating is for language, sexual content and brief drug use.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Butter comes to Blu-ray Disc from Anchor Bay featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 24 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.1 Mbps.
This is an excellent high definition video presentation that appears to render the film’s elements faithfully. Resolution is notable as images are firmly resolved, with defining sharpness and two dimensional depth. Colors are beautifully rendered with revealing delineation, tonal warmth and vibrant textures. Fleshtones appear descriptive with discernible complexional variety that brings out the finest gradations in the differing complexional types among the cast. Blacks are a solid shade of deep black with excellent dynamic range and discernible highlights. Contrast is well balanced which enriches both light and dark onscreen elements. There is a light veneer of grain that provides a mildly textured and film like essence.
The lossless audio presentation is quite good and delivers the source elements with high level detail and punchy dynamics. Dialogue is appropriately prioritized and is reproduced with excellent tonal variation and clarity through the center channel. The surrounds are active at times and used to good effect for venue replicating atmospherics and reproducing musical ambience. The mix isn’t aggressive but does create an enjoyable surround sound experience that perfectly matched the tone of the film.
- (HD) Gag reel – 5 minutes
- (HD) 6 Deleted/Extended scenes
- Bonus DVD
Butter is a quirky and at times oddly dark satire that in spite of a somewhat problematic script proves to be an entertaining way to spend 90 minutes when you’re in the mood for an offbeat comedy. It comes to Blu-ray from Anchor Bay Home Entertainment featuring solid high definition audio/video quality but a disappointing supplemental offering. It’s easily worth the price of a rental so toss it in your queue and take it for a spin.
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