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Rated 3.13 stars
by 247 people

ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Art Needs Heart
by Betty Jo Tucker

Butter took me by surprise. With a title like that, I wasn’t expecting much. Happily, it turned out to be a very entertaining movie, one of my favorites this year. Who knew butter sculpture could be such a competitive art form? Or that one little girl -- who decides to enter that world of competition -- could charm me so much? The amazing Yara Shahidi portrays Destiny, an adopted child who finally finds something she’s good at and ends up teaching the adults involved some important life lessons. Filled with humor and heart, Butter won me over completely.      

How does Destiny discover her previously hidden talent? Well, one day her adoptive parents (Rob Corddry and Alicia Silverstone) take her to the fair where some butter sculptures are displayed. She innocently fixes part of an exhibit and does it so well that Bob Pickler (Ty Burrell), the sculptor himself, is impressed. Upon returning home, Destiny asks for butter to work on. Her parents are surprised, but they want to make the lonely little girl happy, so they give her all their support -- including her entry into the annual butter sculpture contest.

Unfortunately, someone else is determined to win first prize this year. Laura Pickler (Jennifer Garner) feels angry because her hubby, the longtime butter sculpture champion, can no longer enter the competition. Missing the limelight, she works hard to perfect her skill in this art. When she meets Destiny in their first competition, her anger grows to the point of being willing to do anything to win the next round. Garner excels in this role. She’s funny, pathetic and extremely annoying -- all perfect characteristics for the character she portrays.

The entire cast deserves kudos here. Corddry and Silverstone are especially appealing as the caring adoptive parents. One scene between Corddry and Shahidi listing examples of “what’s the worst thing that can happen” comes across as particularly amusing and touching. Hugh Jackman, who shows up as a most unsympathetic character, plays this stupid guy unflinchingly, while Olivia Wilde has a great time as an ultra-sexy stripper out for revenge.       

Aristotle observed, “The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” Annie Bevan echoes the great philosopher with her statement that the most an artist can do through their work is say, “Let me show you what I have seen, what I have loved, and perhaps you will love it too.”

There’s no “perhaps” for me. I absolutely love the way Butter emphasizes what makes a true artist -- and Destiny clearly is one. 

(Released by The Weinstein Company and rated “R” for language and sexual content.)

For more information about Butter, go to the Internet Movie Data Base or Rotten Tomatoes website.

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