Metascore
40

Mixed or average reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 23
  2. Negative: 8 out of 23
  1. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Oct 5, 2012
    70
    Butter might have been a dark comedy; here, the humor is twisted but the world is bright as can be. Conservatives and liberals alike take a licking, and yet the art of butter carving emerges unscathed.
  2. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    Oct 4, 2012
    70
    The film grows increasingly mirthful as the characters come into focus, and the casting is the key: Ms. Garner, who also helped produce the film, has a gift for catty roles, and Ms. Wilde is so funny she should play hookers all the time.
  3. Reviewed by: Pete Hammond
    Oct 3, 2012
    70
    With a razor-sharp script and Jennifer Garner winning laughs in a nice change-of-pace role, this cynically funny and pointedly pertinent not-so-subtle spin on the national battle between right and left wing politics scores lots of comic bullseyes.
  4. Reviewed by: Joel Arnold
    Oct 5, 2012
    65
    Butter thrives on skewering characters whose self-importance isolates them completely from the consequences of their actions. And while the film's perspective is distinctly liberal, providing several thinly veiled criticisms of conservative politicians, nearly everyone (except Destiny) is guilty of something.
  5. Reviewed by: Catherine Shoard
    Sep 19, 2012
    60
    There's something about this film's churn of goo and grit that lingers ambivalently, difficult to digest.
  6. Reviewed by: James Rocchi
    Oct 6, 2012
    50
    With both Garner and Shahedi providing voice-over, the small-town stakes and the big thematic ideas, Butter feels like someone trying to create the lemonade tang and quenching zest of, say, Alexander Payne's "Election."
  7. Reviewed by: Sheri Linden
    Oct 4, 2012
    50
    The would-be satire is nothing more than a bunch of sketch characters and jokes welded to a sentimental subplot.
  8. Reviewed by: Jeannette Catsoulis
    Oct 4, 2012
    50
    Well acted and sporadically amusing - especially when Olivia Wilde's profanity-spewing stripper is around - Butter alternates between looking down its nose at Midwestern passions and cooing over smugly liberal values.
  9. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Oct 4, 2012
    50
    The chance for delicious satire melts away quickly in Butter, a spoof without oomph.
  10. Reviewed by: Barbara VanDenburgh
    Oct 4, 2012
    50
    Butter is funny in spots, but it's so preoccupied with landing below-the-belt cultural jabs that it misses the opportunity for laying out biting social commentary.
  11. Reviewed by: Zeba Blay
    Oct 4, 2012
    50
    It's the film's unwillingness to deal with the sometimes hilarious and often problematic things its characters say and do that stands as one of its ultimate failings.
  12. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Oct 3, 2012
    50
    Garner hasn't come across as amusing as she is here in quite some time. Despite many funny bits, Butter also, at times, seems to excoriate the blinkered Midwesterners in the flyover states.
  13. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Oct 2, 2012
    50
    The film was shot in Louisiana, which looks nothing like Iowa. Nobody along the way seems to have a care in the world about cholesterol. And it's the first movie in history that makes Hugh Jackman look repulsive.
  14. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Oct 4, 2012
    40
    Appropriately enough for a movie built on two-dimensional cartoons of amoral adults and innocent children, Shahidi is the only actor who emerges with her dignity fully intact.
  15. Reviewed by: David Fear
    Oct 2, 2012
    40
    If its juxtaposition of bad behavior and dairy products leaves you stone-faced or wearily sighing, you should exit the theater posthaste.
  16. Reviewed by: Scott Bowles
    Oct 7, 2012
    38
    It's been a long time since a movie wasted this much talent.
  17. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Oct 4, 2012
    38
    Butter dearly wants to be a hot-button social satire that plays rough with sacred cows: Midwestern power-moms, the religious right, race, sex, you name it. Mostly, it wants to be an Alexander Payne movie from the 1990s. "Citizen Ruth," say, or "Election." Instead, it's a shrill, cartoonish mess.
  18. Reviewed by: Sam Adams
    Oct 3, 2012
    33
    A toothless, insufferably smug satire using competitive butter-carving as a weak-tea stand-in for Midwestern politics, Butter is so contemptuous of its corn-fed rubes, it might as well be a Trojan horse crafted to prove the movie industry's liberal bias.
  19. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Sep 19, 2012
    33
    Self-righteous and smug in its use of heartland stereotypes, the movie backfires by assuming that its intended liberal audience is just as intolerant and condescending as the conservative opposition insists it is.
  20. Reviewed by: Nick Schager
    Oct 7, 2012
    30
    Plays like one long, slow descent into cloying moralizing and uplift that's well past its expiration date.
  21. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Oct 5, 2012
    25
    It's another in the bicoastal indie industry's endless series of self-congratulatory comedies about the alleged dopiness of middle American hicks who do things like read Parade magazine and decorate with flags.
  22. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Oct 4, 2012
    25
    Butter is a misfire. At 90 minutes it feels inflated, and though clearly intended as funny, it's difficult to locate, except in the most general terms, the focus of the movie's satire, and there's not a laugh to be had.
  23. Reviewed by: Bilge Ebiri
    Oct 5, 2012
    20
    Butter essentially eats its own premise, then proceeds to bludgeon us with unfunny, unoriginal political satire.
User Score
6.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 16 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 5
  2. Negative: 2 out of 5
  1. Jan 16, 2014
    7
    Honestly, this one was pretty good. It was pretty funny and it had a lot of heart. I'm surprised to say I enjoyed a movie about carving butter, but I did. It never took itself too seriously, which is one of the biggest appeals, plus any movie with Olivia Wilde as a stripper is ok in my book. Full Review »
  2. Dec 25, 2013
    9
    This movie is simply hilarious. From the reviews I have read, people took it far too seriously. A movie about Ty Burrell as a master butter art sculptor is in no way meant to be taken seriously. This film pokes into the satirical style a few times, but overall stays as one of those over-the-top, ridiculous-yet-hilarious-characters type of films. It is hilarious and is really a movie that uses a silly plot to provide a setting for great comedy--in a good way. This movie is filled with jokes, and the plot is insignificant. If you came into this expecting to care about a butter sculpting competition, then I am not sure what movie is for you. Watch this movie expecting a lot of great scenes that could stand alone in any movie as comedy gold. Full Review »
  3. Jan 26, 2013
    1
    Just another excuse for Hollywood to mock middle class white people in flyover country. The only wise and profound person was an 11-year-old token black child. They even managed to rope in Hugh Jackman to mock God and praying. Full Review »