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Jennifer Garner, Olivia Wilde

Total Film

December 2011

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Satire meets saturated fat in Jim Field Smith’s competitive butter carving all-star indie.

Last time butter featured so prominently on screen, Marlon Brando was applying it to Maria Schneider. No dairy product naughtiness in this scabrous black comedy though, which centres on a combative Midwestern butter-carving contest and stars Jennifer Garner as a conniving housewife reminiscent of Tea Party starlets Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin. “

Laura Pickler would definitely be a Tea Partier,” smiles Garner. “Her husband has been the champion of butter sculpting in Iowa, which has made her the First Lady of butter. When he steps down, it pulls the rug from under her life. If he won’t do it, she will…”

Packed with scathing dialogue (“I’m sorry I was born white, tall and pretty,” spews Pickler upon discovering that her main rival is an adorable 10-year-old black orphan), it’s no wonder Garner latched onto Jason Micallef’s script. As producer, she hired She’s Out Of Your League’s Jim Field Smith to direct and assembled a white-hot cast including Modern Family’s Ty Burrell, a cameo-ing Hugh Jackman and Olivia Wilde, who steals the film as a potty-mouthed stripper banging Pickler’s husband.

Harvey Weinstein wasted no time whipping up Butter buzz at Toronto, inviting Bachmann to co-host the film’s Minnesota premiere where she could “brush up on the Constitution”. But Garner is clear, Butter’s primary agenda is laughs. “I don’t want to get hate mail,” she reasons, “I just want people to have a wild ride in a world they haven’t seen before.”

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