Saturday, January 5, 2013
Day Five - Butter, or "Wow. Shockingly Good Cinema About Sweetened Lard."
Still... the trailer for Butter gave me hope... and, oddly enough, it delivered on most of it's promises.
The other of said promises was actual thoughtful comedy. It's not highbrow or anything. You don't have to have a degree in standup or The Complete Works of Woody Allen and Mel Brooks (No Relation), but it's also doesn't "pander to the lowest common something or other." There are biting, if obvious, jabs at both the left and the right... even if you can tell which way the overall slant is.
This is all not to say that it doesn't have it's flaws. The premise is silly, but not ridiculous enough to wash away how uncomfortably real it all is. I mean, with something like The Campaign or The Hangover, there's a certain amount of incredulity that makes those films more palatable. It's also just a bit too ridiculous to maintain the warmth and relatability of films like Grumpy Old Men. Butter sits somewhere in the middle, and in doing so, is caught between two ideals... not serving either very well.
Maybe that's too harsh. Maybe Butter is it's own thing and should be judged as such, but this is the way I feel.
In any case, very solid (if mellow) performances by many of the folks involved, including: Alicia Silverstone, Rob Corddry, Ty Burrell, Kristen Schall, and Phyllis Smith. I say (in parenths) that they're mellow due to the fact that even Rob Corddy's much deserved meltdown is pretty tame.
Also, I've seen Jennifer Garner is this character before. She does a good job, don't get me wrong, but it feels old hat.
I think my main disappointment was also my original draw to the film. Olivia. It's not that she didn't bring it, it's just that there wasn't exactly all that much to bring. She didn't have really enough to work with, and her brief interactions needed expanding for her character to have more worth other than just a convenient foil. It just didn't feel like she had enough skin in the game (ironic, considering she's a stripper here) for her to really care all that much and do the things she does, especially towards the end of the film.
All in all, Butter is a pretty solid flick. Perhaps a little too overzealous with the cracks at the Christian Right and not the best film I've seen all year, but certainly pretty safe.
Not quite gripping satire, not quite heartwarming slice-of-life, it's a fairly tame, yet still pleasingly entertaining. I definitely recommend it, even through its flaws.
Until tomorrow, Potatoes~