Wednesday, September 14, 2011

TIFF: Hysterical About Butter and Hysteria

Posted By on Wed, Sep 14, 2011 at 4:39 PM

Jennifer Garner stars in Butter
  • Jennifer Garner stars in Butter

One person’s crushing bore is another person’s laugh fest. I was warned continually during the past 24 hours by a handful of critics that Butter was a disappointment. Well those people can suck it. I found Butter to be a delicious riot.

Who would have guessed that the cutthroat world of butter carving could provide the foundation for a highly inappropriate hard-R-rated comedy? Jennifer Garner channels a bit of Michelle Bachmann and a touch of Sarah Palin in her portrayal of Laura Pickler, the controlling wife of Bob, played by the wonderful Ty Burrell (Modern Family).

Bob Pickler's butter carvings are legendary. The Iowan created a life-size Last Supper, Newt Gingrich riding a horse and a tribute to Schindler’s List. But Bob has decided to hang up his butter knife, which opens the door for his wife to compete for the top prize at the Iowa State Fair. Her competition includes the local whore (Olivia Wilde) and an adorable 10-year old (Yara Shahidi). Sprinkle in Hugh Jackman as a ridiculous car salesman, and Alicia Silverstone (Clueless) and Rob Corddry (The Daily Show) as an adorable couple and you get some high comedy from some low places. Pass the butter, please.

Jonathan Pryce, Rupert Everett and Hugh Dancy star in Hysteria
  • Jonathan Pryce, Rupert Everett and Hugh Dancy star in Hysteria

Equally mind-boggling is Hysteria, a Victorian-age comedy about the invention of the vibrator.

Hugh Dancy (Our Idiot Brother) plays Dr. Mortimer Granville, employed by Dr. Robert Dalrymple (Jonathan Pryce), London’s “foremost specialist in women’s medicine.” Granville’s best friend happens to be a makeshift inventor (Rupert Everett). Add Maggie Gyllenhaal as Dr. Dalrymple's suffragette daughter Charlotte, and the chemistry works as well as the electricity. The movie has a number of big guffaws but it is also surprisingly sweet and witty.

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