Until tonight, I never realized how cut throat the art of butter sculpting is. In Iowa, Bob Pickler is the long-reigning champion, and when he steps down his wife decides that she cannot let this championship go so she enters the contest for herself. It just so happens there is this 10 year old foster child named Destiny, who also has this passion for sculpting with butter and wants to enter the competition. We, soon find out how cut throat Laura Pickler can get to win this title. This film on paper sounds ridiculous and when I tell you it stars Hugh Jackman in a cameo as a car salesman who lusts Laura, and Laura is played by Jennifer Gardner, most of you will have your minds made up. I want to personally say I know the feeling, and I had the same issues going into this film but around the 20 minute mark when this film got going, it was absolutely a very dark fun comedy.
At first we think the Pickler family is the normal everyday American family, until we see what is under the surface. This family clearly has issues from Mr. Pickler having an affair with a stripper, to Laura who will do anything at all costs to win this competition, to their daughter who later in the film gets a crush on dadâ€™s stripper friend and steals her dadâ€™s money for her. Also in the fun is Hugh Jackman who is a seedy car dealer giving some of his funniest lines in a very long time as he is obsessed with Laura even though heâ€™s married as well. There is a scene in the film when he says a prayer to God that has to be one of the weirdest and most demented prayers I ever heard. The negatives in this film were who Destinyâ€™s foster parents were, Alicia Silverstone plays on cruise control and did not really add anything to her role and Rob Corddry was wasted as well. That was the sad part of this, was that you would expect Rob to deliver something, and he just seemed to be lost in the background. Olivia Wilde as the stripper was the casting coo of the year. When she rides away on her bicycle in this one scene, it is just so absurd that you laugh at just how ridiculous it truly is.
This film tries to be everything to everyone, it gives you the dark humor and the vulgar moments of hilarity, but it tries to deliver a message and provide heart felt moments, which at times worked but the ending of this film felt like it wanted to put this whole film in a pretty little bow and make everyone leave happy which I understand why it would do this, but it would have been so much more better to add a little more cruelty and maybe bleakness, and create humor to end the film like that. This film the meanness and darkness was fun, the lightness and sentimental stuff was a little too much at times and you can tell they were trying really hard to get that reaction. The things I thought would work about this film like certain actors were not really a factor, things I thought could never work like Olivia Wilde as a stripper, Jennifer Garner trying to make a film I like, and Hugh Jackman entertaining me really worked. The little girl Destiny was fun, but she really had no humor to her dialogue or acting which was so sorely missing. She tried to play it straight, and get us emotionally involved.
All things considered I really had fun with this film, and would recommend the majority of it. This is that comedy for people who are not into that sophomoric humor of films like The Hangover or Billy Madison. This is more in the vein of films like A Fish Called Wanda and anything Todd Solondz has done after Happiness. Though, I did like the Butter competition and thought that was really a great touch to this film.
8 out of 10