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In Iowa, an adopted girl discovers her talent for butter carving and finds herself pitted against an ambitious local woman in their town's annual contest.


Jim Field Smith


Jason A. Micallef (as Jason Micallef)





Cast overview, first billed only:
Jennifer Garner ... Laura Pickler
Ty Burrell ... Bob Pickler
Garrett Schenck ... Orval Flanagan
Kristen Schaal ... Carol Ann Stevenson
Jason Yudoff ... Announcer
Phyllis Smith ... Nancy
Judy Leavell Judy Leavell ... Helen Flanagan
Joe Chrest ... Butter Fan
Deana Ricks ... Butter Fan's Wife
Yara Shahidi ... Destiny
Kelly Tippens ... Mrs. Moore
Dodie Brown ... June Carmichael
Jeanne Evans Jeanne Evans ... Mrs. Gunderson
Cindy Creekmore Cindy Creekmore ... Danielle Mattingly
Christine Scheller Christine Scheller ... Transitional Home Worker


In Iowa, laid-back Bob has won the state fair's butter-carving contest 15 years running; his tightly-wound and hard-charging wife Laura sees Bob becoming governor, so when the contest organizers ask him to step aside so others can win, she's incensed; when Bob won't protest, she decides to enter herself. In the county contest, she's up against Destiny, an African-American foster child, and Brooke, a prostitute Bob hasn't paid. When things don't go Laura's way, she enlists the help of Boyd, an old boyfriend. Laura's step-daughter and Destiny's foster parents are in the mix as things heat up at the state fair. What are Destiny and Laura's destiny? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


There's going to be a meltdown. See more »


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

18 October 2012 (Russia) See more »

Also Known As:

Alles in Butter See more »

Filming Locations:

Bossier City, Louisiana, USA See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$70,931, 7 October 2012, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$70,931, 7 October 2012
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Datasat | Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


In the scene where Laura and Bob talk in the Pickler family carving cooler, there is a butter sculpture of a man pointing, in the background. It is a replica of the statue of Green Bay Packers' legendary coach, Vince Lombardi, that is outside the atrium entrance to Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. See more »


Laura's hand is shown in different places in shots when they announce her speech. See more »


[first lines]
Laura Pickler: I believe in America. I believe we are the best. I believe we're number one. And I won't apologize for that. My husband and I are survivors. We fought tooth and nail to get where we are today. How? The old fashion way, hard work and a can-do attitude. And here in the great State of Iowa, no less, where all great battles begin. My name is Laura Dean Pickler, and this is the cut-throat story of greed, blackmail, sex, and butter.
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Crazy Credits

On the Blu-ray, there are no opening credits except for the RADiUS-TWC logo and the title. See more »


References SpongeBob SquarePants (1999) See more »


Capital Assets Hustle Radio
Courtesy of SmartSound
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A satire equally slippery and fattening
10 September 2012 | by StevePulaskiSee all my reviews

Butter sculpting is one of the many things I wish I could do but can not. I don't have the time, the patience, the eye, or the craft to pull off something as skillful as molding pounds and pounds of butter into an object or a replica of an event. Such a talent will require devotion and commitment, and certainly a helluva lot of free time.

Jim Field Smith's Butter is a bleeding gums satire on suburbia and follows the lives of those white people who seem to have it all but will never recognize it. We take a look at a Conservative Midwestern town in Iowa, where its residents are just as quirky their interests. Our first main character is Laura Pickler (Jennifer Garner), wife of professional butter-sculpture Bob Picker (Ty Burrell), who has decided that after fifteen years he will retire and live a more quiet, controlled life. This upsets Laura, who decides to continue Bob's legacy by pursuing the butter-sculpting championship (whether or not one actually exists baffles me, but it certainly wouldn't surprise me). It is, at first, unknown to Laura that Bob has been unfaithful, and has agreed to pay a local stripper a plethora of money to afford her rent. The stripper is the hilarious Brooke, played by Olivia Wilde, who steals every scene she is in. She will join the championship, as well, knowing she will get under Laura's skin and show her that Bob and her were meant for each other.

Laura has competition, mainly with a young black orphan named Destiny (Yara Shahidi), who has traveled from house to house, finally finding a family with Rob Corddry and Alicia Silverstone. After claiming to them that she isn't skilled at anything, she becomes an overnight sensation in the town for being able to mold anything carefully out of butter. The other competitor is the dim-witted, yet good-natured Carol-Ann Stevenson (Kristen Shaal), a fan of Bob's who becomes convinced that she can win the next title, although she is victim to her own ineptitude.

Butter plays just like Alexander Payne's film Election did, with its heavily satirized look at suburban culture, and also providing us with a character that has redeemable and despicable qualities. In Election, Reese Witherspoon plays Tracy Flick, a cocky brown nose who pesters her classmates and her teacher, played by Matthew Broderick, in an attempt to win a school election. She loves to believe that everyone likes her, but Broderick's character has it out for her the entire time, even setting up a dense football player to run against her so she won't run unopposed. Payne used wry humor and hilariously over-the-top performance to make Election a winning film. Smith employs virtually the same techniques, but in a little subtler of a manner. We laugh at the character's bizarre personalities, how they react towards each other, and the way they treat this preposterous competition more so than their actual reactions and monologues. Either way, it's a favorable combination.

Butter is a film I believe could work equally as a documentary as it does a quirky satire. Seeing the obscure in films has always been a favorite of mine, I believe that butter sculpting, or clay, soap, or ice sculpting could've made for an enticing documentary, as long as the passion and heart was there. It would also hopefully answer a question that was looming in my head since I began watching the film; after all is said and done, and the competition has been judged, critiqued, and the winner awarded, what happens to the sculpture itself? Surely electric bills for the cooling containers wouldn't be paid contently.

Starring: Jennifer Garner, Ty Burrell, Olivia Wilde, Rob Corddry, Ashley Greene, Alicia Silverstone, and Hugh Jackman. Directed by: Jim Field Smith.

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