07 November, 2011

Savannah: "Butter" (**1/2)

Jennifer Garner stars in "Butter"

“Butter” hasn't received much press until just now as it is hitting the festival circuit. A trailer has yet to be seen and a release date has only recently been nailed down. All we knew about it was that the cast is full of good names, it is a satire built around a butter-carving competition and that director Jim Field Smith is only known for by-the-numbers romantic comedy “She's Out of My League.” But somewhere, somehow, the name “Juno” was mumbled by someone and comparisons were just waiting to be made.

The question of similarity to “Juno” would be appropriately enough raised, but I'm afraid the similarity ends just past the 'Jennifer Garner movie' and 'Midwestern family ensemble comedy' labels. “Butter” has a bit of bite, but it lacks both the quirk and emotional depth that “Juno” had. The screenplay goes more for gags than being clever and fails to really shine outside a handful of scenes.

This is not to say the film isn't going to be surefire entertainment for many moviegoers. There were a few times in the film when I couldn't even hear a few lines because the whole house was laughing for so long. Garner, newcomer Yara Shahidi, Olivia Wilde and Kristen Schaal all do some comedic heavy-lifting. Shahidi provides a bit of tenderness as both the narrator and the heart of the film. Garner, meanwhile, gives us a performance we haven't ever seen from her. She will be an Oscar player one of these days.

I went into this one hoping to be surprised by just how great it was, but not expecting to be. I wasn't surprised, but I wasn't disappointed either. A lost opportunity, but not a waste of time.

2.5 out of 5 stars.

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