“Duck Butter” Is A Creative Sex Comedy That Falls Short Of What It Could Be

by Erika W. Smith


The premise of Duck Butter will make you take notice: Two young women (played by Alia Shawkat and Laia Costa) meet at a bar and feel a spark, so they decide to spend the next 24 hours together. The catch? They have to have sex once an hour.

Directed by Miguel Arteta, co-written by Arteta and Shawkat, and filmed in just 24 hours, Duck Butter—which premiered at Tribeca Film Fest on April 20—is sometimes sexy and sometimes funny, but also sometimes…a little boring. To be fair, this is somewhat intentional—the characters realize that constant sex might sound good, but the reality gets old quick.

We get to know the characters as their 24-hour marathon continues, but they never go beyond character types, defined by their opposing traits. Shawkat’s Naima is a pessimist, Costa’s Laia is an optimist; Naima has has never been in love before, Costa falls in love constantly; Naima has a distant relationship with her parents, Costa has a hyper-close relationship with her mother.

The plot takes an interesting turn as the audience slowly realizes, along with Naima and Laia, that although the two are attracted to each other, they might not have what it takes for that attraction to turn into a relationship that lasts beyond 24 hours. Duck Butter gets props for its creative story and for its queer women-centered storyline (with Mae Whitman, Hong Chau, and Kate Berlant in supporting roles). But ultimately, Duck Butter a just-okay sex comedy. 3/5

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