Duck Butter is a dating experiment turned nightmare
I feel personally attacked by this content.
It’s as if my own personal hell was captured in a 90 minute romantic drama. I was sitting in bed with my laptop on my stomach, watching as two people kept making worse and worse decisions. It’s psychological torture porn.
Alia Shawkat plays Naima, a struggling actress in LA who has just been fired from her job on a film for speaking her mind (namely, taking issue with a straight man playing a gay character). She meets Sergio (Laia Costa), a carefree, sh-t obsessed Spanish musician who proposes a radical dating experiment: They live an entire relationship together over the course of 24 hours.
What follows is an emotional roller coaster as the two f-ck, fight, sleep and eat together as if they are living 10 years on fast forward.
As someone who needs personal space, this looks like a nightmare. I always get this ancy feeling the morning after a sleepover where I NEED to get home and be alone for a few hours. I love being with people, but I’ll lose my mind if I can’t squeeze in alone time at the end of the day.
That said, there are some genuinely tender moments between Costa and Shawkat. They have chemistry in the sense that you can tell they’re not right for each other at all. Naima is a shy, logical person while Sergio is spontaneous and has the emotional maturity of a 12-year-old.
Oh, and Sergio loves sh-t. As in feces. Her own, her dog’s. The number of times she mentions and fondles poop in this movie would be enough for me to end the relationship right then and there. Is this supposed to come off as quirky and European?
Shawkat executive produced and co-wrote the movie with director Miguel Arteta, which feels natural and spontaneous. It definitely has the mumble-coreness of a Duplass Brothers film. In a weird meta scene, the Duplass Brothers and Kumail Nanjiani play themselves on the film Naima eventually gets fired from. I’m not sure if this was their attempt to make fun of themselves or emphasize the realness of Naima being a minority on set.
In an interview with Cameron Esposito on Queery, Shawkat talked about how Sergio was originally written for a man but the production hired a woman instead. In an industry where there has been little to no progress in diversity over the past 10 years, it is so important that more voices are included behind and in front of the camera.
Duck Butter is now on Netflix.
Header image credit: Duplass Brothers Productions