NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by L.
We start with Laura Pickler (Jennifer Garner) and her husband, Bob (Ty Burrell) at a political rally where Laura is campaigning for the position of Governor. Her opening voice over states that this is a story of greed, blackmail, sex and butter and tells us that she and her husband are “survivors” which is what allowed them to get to where they are today.
ONE YEAR EARLIER
Bob is honored for his skills at butter carving at a town meeting. When the organizers of the contest give him an ovation, Laura stands up as well to milk the adoration of the crowd. She considers her family to be almost like royalty, claiming that more people have seen her husband’s butter carvings than watch the Super Bowl but insists that no one knows it because of the liberal media. The organizer begins a small documentary to honor Bob which tells us his life story.
Bob was born with nothing and grew up on a farmhouse his only friend was a small calf named Sookie. After she was struck my lightening, Bob set out to memorialize her by carving her likeness out of the only thing in the family ice box: butter. He’s been winning butter carving contests for more than a decade including pieces known as “T-Rex eating girl” and “Schindler’s list.” This year he’s outdone himself by carving a replica of the Last Supper. At the end of the video, it cuts to an interview of Laura where she insists that they can parlay their butter fame to politics.
We cut to Destiny (Yara Shahidi), a foster child, who watches the Gala from a foster care facility. She sees Laura talking about the charity that the Picklers started, and Destiny confesses that the first time she saw the Picklers she hoped that they would be able to take her in. After being in the care of creationists, drug addicts and the elderly, she is placed with Ethan and Julie Emmet (Rob Corddry and Alicia Silverstone). They seem like nice people, but Destiny thinks that they’ll get cold feet like all the others.
One day Destiny goes to the county fair where she sees the Butter Last Supper and slips into the color. She sees Bob’s incomplete Holy Grail and begins tidying it up on her own revealing that she has a natural artistic ability. Bob sees her and commends her on her skill and asks if she’s a quite one. He asks if he can borrow the cup and places it on the table.
One of the organizers approaches Bob and tells him that even though Bob is the Elvis of butter, it’s time for him to let someone else have a shot at winning he tells Bob that it’s time to start giving back over taking. The organizer knows how passionate Laura is about these things, but Bob insists she’ll be fine.
Laura goes ballistic when she hears the news and insists that the organizer have it for them. She threatens to call the Governor or Jesus because their rights are being violated. Bob insists that the organizers are good people, and the Governor doesn’t care about such trivial issues. She bitterly responds by saying that she should have married her high school sweetheart instead of a man whose only aspiration in life was to be a middle school principal. Bob gets upset and leaves. Laura insists that if Bob won’t stand up to the organizers, then she will.
Laura drives to the organizer’s house and bangs on the door. The organizer’s wife is terrified that Laura might force her way inside because how unhinged she is. She lets Laura in and Laura insists that she will wait for the organizer to “come out of the shower.”
Bob goes to a strip club he frequents where he is smitten by Brooke Swinkowski (Olivia Wilde), a stripper who has sex with clients if they pay. Brooke gives Bob a lap dance which quickly escalates to sex in Bob’s car. Laura drives by the strip joint, sees Bob getting fucked in his car in the parking lot, and rams into his car.
She criticizes and demands to know how many times he’s fucked Brooke. He insists it’s the one time and Laura tells Bob that she is going to enter the butter carving contest in his place so that she can preserve the imagined prestige of the Pickler family.
Ethan drops Destiny off at school while making jokes to try and cheer her up. She draws a tree in art class, which really impresses her teacher, who insists that Destiny is very talented. Back at their house, Destiny asks Ethan if they have any butter. Ethan promises to get her some.
At the Pickler house, Kaitlen (Ashley Greene), Bob’s daughter from a previous marriage, is trying to drown out her stepmother and her father with her iPod. Laura announces that she is going to enter, and Kaitlen insists that Laura is going to suck quite badly. Brooke visits the house to demand the 600 dollars Bob owes her. Kaitlen is impressed by Brooke’s boots, but Bob asks Brooke to leave. She rides off on her bike screaming that Laura should watch her back.
Julie comes home and asks Destiny about her day. She takes an interest in Destiny’s butter carvings despite the concept being a bit “red-necky.” Destiny carved little butter figurines of her family and Julie notices that she hasn’t unpacked her suitcase yet which makes her sad.
Laura listens to the Secret in her car before signing up for the contest. In the end, four contestants sign up: Laura, Brooke, Destiny and Carol (Kristen Schaal). Laura tries to get Brooke disqualified, but Brooke pulls her aside and asks Laura if Brooke’s entrance in the competition would piss Laura off. Laura says yes, so Brooke signs up when Laura refuses to pay her the 600 dollars.
The day of the contest, the four contestants get to work. Carol tanks by creating the worst butter carving of cats in a basket. Laura carves a very nice carving of a family praying. Destiny makes a carving of Harriet Tubman on a train. Brooke shows up with two minutes to go and draws a Scarlett A in her block of butter in reference to the Scarlett letter. The results are announced soon after: Carol gets 4th place, Brooke gets 3rd, Laura gets 2nd and Destiny gets 1st.
Laura fumes that Destiny played the race card to win. In the car, Laura goes on a racist tirade which Kaitlen freaks out about saying that she’d be better off as a strip club. Laura fantasizes about giving a speech to the crowd where she sarcastically apologizes for being “tall, white and pretty” and “not sucking every cock that was put in front of my face.” Meanwhile, the Emmet Family get Destiny a cake and celebrate her victory.
Laura goes and visits her high school sweetheart, Boyd Bolton (Hugh Jackman) and has sex with him so that he will go to the judging officials and claim that HE carved Destiny’s sculpture. When Boyd claims that Ethan paid him 500 dollars the Emmet Family is furious that Destiny is being robbed of her victory by a jealous housewife. Destiny agrees to a rematch at the state fair.
Kaitlen is in her room smoking marijuana when Brooke comes by and whips rocks at the window. Kaitlen invites Brooke in and the two end up having sex. Kaitlen promises that she can get Brooke the money which Brooke claims is $1200. Kaitlen mentions the rematch, which infuriates Brooke further. Brooke takes Destiny to the mall and uses the $1200 to buy Destiny the knives necessary to bring down Laura. But when Destiny returns home she finds out that her mother died. She is given a photo of the two of them together when Destiny was a baby.
The State fair comes, and the rematch commences. Destiny uses her tools, and the inspiration of her mother’s photo to carve a similar statue of a mother holding her child while Laura carves a hot rod vehicle because she thinks it will show her values. The contest ends on the first day, with the judges viewing the statues on the second day. That night, Boyd slips into the fairgrounds and blow torches the face of the baby so that Destiny will lose. The next day, Ethan mocks the officials for their refusal to allow Destiny to repair her statue from a deliberate act of sabotage.
Destiny goes to the bathroom and Laura finds her in there. She wishes Laura good luck and prepares to leave, but Laura stops her by saying the contest is all Laura has. Laura continues to say that Destiny has her whole life to be the winner: she’s beautiful and young. But Laura’s older, and if she isn’t good at this then what can she be good at? They go outside the Judges announce their verdict: Laura has lost. Destiny will retain her win and go on to the state butter carving contest. Her family and the crowd cheer for her and she looks over at Laura tells her that the contest isn’t all she has, hugging her in front of the crowd. Laura gets on her knees and hugs her.
Destiny won the state competition and was happy to find out that she was good at something. Ethan and Julie adopt her formally and so she’ll never have to go back into the foster system again. Brooke gets promoted to general manager of her strip club and sends Destiny postcards. Laura ran for Governor because, “God came to her in a vision and told her to run.” Since people like what she stands for, she might win, but Destiny vows that she’ll get some killer ninjas to find her and kick her butt.