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.
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?
Generally humble Bob Pickler has found his niche in life as a butter sculptor, handily winning the Iowa state Mastery in Butter carving championship fifteen years running. His ambitious current second wife, Laura Pickler, parlays Bob's local fame to further her own egotistical aspirations to be known as a person doing social good, her eye on the Iowa state governor's seat, and perhaps even the White House. When Bob agrees to a request by event organizers to take himself out of further competitions to allow others to have their moment of butter fame, Laura believes their life and her aspirations are shattered, as the centerpiece of what gave them renown has been taken away from them. So she decides to enter the competition herself to continue the Pickler legacy. In doing so, Laura expects to intimidate any other comers not to enter. What she doesn't expect is the entry of ten year old Destiny, a black foster child. Destiny, who doesn't even know her last name as her parentage is uncertain, has been shuttled from foster home to foster home, never finding a place where she wanted to stay and where the foster parents wanted to keep her, and in the process not finding her own place in life, she having been told that she has no talent. Concurrently, she believes she may have found both when she is placed into the home of who she considers extremely "white" Ethan and Jill, who do whatever they can, above and beyond, to make Destiny feel like she's at home. Regardless, she still believes something will happen to sour the relationship with Ethan and Jill. At the same time, she is inspired when she sees Bob's fifteenth winning butter sculpture, a life sized rendering of the Last Supper. As Destiny carves and sculpts from the heart, Laura will do whatever required to beat Destiny, even cheat. Thrown into the mix is Brooke, a bicycle riding stripper cum hooker who has her own vendetta against the Picklers, especially Laura.
- A tale of competition at its most cut-throat, BUTTER surveys the raw ambition of Laura Pickler (Jennifer Garner), the wife of Bob Pickler (Ty Burrell), Iowa's long-reigning champion butter carver. For 15 years, Laura has relished her high-profile role as the beautiful, loyal helpmate to her affable, artistically gifted husband. But when Bob is pressured to retire and allow someone else a chance at glory, an indignant Laura decides to enter the competition herself. She is first in line on sign-up day, only to see her odds of victory fall below 100% with the arrival of an unlikely yet formidable contender: 10-year-old Destiny (Yara Shahidi), the African-American foster child of local couple Julie and Ethan (Alicia Silverstone and Rob Corddry). And that's not all. Bob's would-be mistress, bad-girl stripper Brooke (Olivia Wilde) also declares her candidacy, as does his #1 fan, Carol-Ann (Kristen Schaal). Facing three opponents, mocked by her stepdaughter Kaitlen (Ashley Greene) and furious with her husband, Laura resolves to do whatever it takes to win. And if that means resorting to sabotage - and recruiting her dim-witted former boyfriend Boyd (Hugh Jackman) as a co-conspirator - then so be it.