Friday, August 24, 2012

"Butter" Trailer Plays It Coy

A big conversation-piece last year on the festival circuit, "Butter" is a political satire - supposedly in the vein of "Election" - that uses a yearly butter-carving competition (yes, we are firmly in "Little Miss Sunshine" middle-america-as-quirktastic-museum-piece land) as a metaphor for "modern politics" (read: the 2008 presidential election.) Jennifer Garner is the deliberately Palin/Bachman-esque wife of the reigning champ who enters the contest herself in order to maintain her family's prestige after her husband is disgraced by being caught with a stripper/hooker (Olivia Wilde;) only to find her victory imperiled by the arrival of an adopted African-American girl (standing in for, well, GUESS) who turns out to be a natural prodigy at the "sport."

The first trailer, of course, is mostly downplaying that particular angle; which feels like a missed opportunity.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS after jump.



The film has had a good deal of ink already, mostly because Conservatives are getting better and better at mobilizing against stuff like this as though they were an ACTUAL persecuted minority, but the word from the critical press was pretty mixed otherwise: Heavy-handed, overly-broad/cute, etc.

Looks pretty funny to me, though, and naturally my interest perked up at the notion that Wilde's character (apparently) turns her romantic intentions on Ashley Greene - who I think is playing Garner's daughter. So... that ought to be something, at least. Though, it must be said, it's a little weird that Garner seems to still be playing every role with the same "13 year-old grownup" affect from "13 Goin On 30."

11 comments:

Ronin08 said...
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Ronin08 said...

First reaction: Huh, that's a lot of familiar faces in this trailer.

Third viewing: Wait a second, I recognize almost EVERY actor in this trailer! Rob Corddry, Kristen Schaal, Phyllis Smith...it's like a giant gathering of "I know that face from that movie."

Andrew said...
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Taylor said...

I think I'm going to hate this movie. It combines quirkiness-hipster-porn, and the kind of "Noble Popularity Contest" that people keep trying to turn politics into. I'm guessing this is going to be a bunch of rich actors and actresses making self-important jabs at how other rich people are so totally stuck up and therefore must be wrong.

Andrew said...

Yeah...with all respect, I'm gonna go ahead and file this under "who the hell green-lit this?"

I don't see how the makers of this felt this would have much of an audience (even election-relevant stuff rarely plays well, regardless of whether it's an election year or not), and the obscurity of the butter competition element just makes this all the more bizarre. I predict this opens with less than $3 million, and it'll be lucky to make $10 million total. Unless this was made on a shoestring budget, it's a flop.

...

Though the Wilde/Greene angle doesn't exactly sound like a home run (there isn't much of a clear physical difference to really be...intriguing, and Wilde's character seems like a 2D slut caricature), I will agree that that's probably the strongest draw the movie has. If there's anything to it, they should be playing that part up, but I seriously doubt they're willing to go there, as that would clearly be hijacking a "silly political comedy" and taking it into risque erotica territory, and as de Palma isn't attached, I don't see that happening. And Jennifer Garner as Ashley Greene's mother? Too soon. If they wanted an "older, but attractive MILF-y type, they'da been better served with Julianne Moore. Garner's still too young (-looking) to play that part convincingly. I really don't know why they would cast her and Greene as a mother and daughter team unless they felt the audience would buy it, and from the trailers (and everything else), I don't know how we could.

This just looks like another one of those bizarre, forgettable projects based on some vague, but totally half-assed political angle, like Welcome to Mooseport (anyone remember that one?). Political satire has to be fearless and cutting to be worth it, and this looks like 10% pandering, 90% faux-quirky wrote B-level comedy. Even the Obama/Palin angle seems waaay forced, like I probably wouldn't have noticed it were it not pointed out before I saw it. I just don't see much there to make this either enjoyable, profitable, or worthwhile.

So who the hell green-lit this?

Mads said...

Amazing lineup of actors on this one.

Love the "an adopted African-American girl (standing in for, well, GUESS)" jab, made me rofl.

Anonymous said...

I was totally ready to hate this, after reading Bob's description...but that trailer was hilarious.

Anonymous said...

Since we're discussing politics, Bob, when are you going to finally admit that Gary Johnson is a better choice for president than either Obama or Romney?

Anonymous said...

Attention everyone: stop telling Bob to "admit" political stuff here. You all sound ridiculous. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

@AnonymousDerailer
When people know who Gary Johnson is.

Anonymous said...

Anon @1:55 Bob opens himself up to this with his arrogance and biased political stances. If he's called out for it, it's on him.