Butter – 2012

Director Jim Field Smith
Starring Jennifer Garner, Ty Burrell, Olivia Wilde, Rob Corddy, Ashley Greene, Alicia Silverstone, Hugh Jackman, Yara Shahidi, Kristen Schaal
Screenplay Jason Micallef

Dear Jennifer, I want to talk a little about the first movie your production company has graced the world with.  I will address each of my topics with its own bullet point, for easier reference.

  • First of all, thanks for putting Phyllis Vance in a movie.   I love her on The Office.
  • I had no idea that the Butter competition in the Iowa state fair had more in person viewers than the Superbowl.  I am not sure why I felt the need to capitalize Butter or Superbowl.
  • Similarly, it was interesting to find that making carvings out of butter is considered a conservative (or “redneck”) activity.
  • Why was it necessary to point out in a celebratory doc about your character’s husband that you, as Laura Pickler: 2nd Wife.
  • The delightful Ty Burrell as a weak-willed husband of a conservative shrew…that’s a stretch.
  • Olivia Wilde as a tattooed whore out to wreck a home is fine, but I am concerned about the fact that you over did it a tad with every scene.  Whether she was constantly blackmailing, cutting through meandering lines with no people in them, or even the bad rock music blaring with every step.
  • Having Schaal’s character over the moon at getting 4th Place was a delightful turn.  Good call.
  • Rob Corddry and Alicia Silverstone make delightful parents to a beautiful and talented girl named Destiny (Shahidi).  Well played all around.
  • Ashley Greene is even worse than she was in that dreadful movie The Apparition.  I wish she had talent to match the looks.
  • Is your message that everyone who lives in conservative towns cheats on everyone else, or is it just that conservatives do this?
  • Also, is prayer after infidelity to tell God he is “cool” for letting you behind the green door a popular Christian move?
  • I am really impressed with Corddry and Shahidi…they have dream conversations for a parent and child.  It goes right to the edge of schmaltz, but never over.
  • Did I mention how nice it is to see Alicia Silverstone in a movie again?  I think I forgot after Batman and Robin.
  • Back to Laura Pickler, I always wondered what happened to the woman who wanted to ban the books of Terence Mann.  She had a little girl named Laura.
  • Having the stripper whore hook up with the daughter just to get money?  Does that belong in a movie where a little girl finds the right foster family and discovers she’s good at carving butter into art?
  • Even if Laura is overplayed, I do like the idea and her inspiration for wanting to succeed.
  • I even like how well the ending played out.  You gave Destiny a large measure of grace…and then there was that last voice over.  Hard to believe someone as smart as that little girl would not know the word “denominator,” or that she’d want to harm someone she just hugged one scene earlier.

Well my only real advice to you is when making a farce of conservatives, less is more.  Your character seemed like something out of Airplane! and it did not fit with the rest of the movie.  You could have gotten your point across more effectively if you played up Laura’s human side, and played down the fact that you cannot identify with your character in the slightest.

(** out of *****)


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