When Sergio (Laia Costa) and Niama (Alia Shawkat) in the new movie Duck Butter they hit it off very quickly. Each, though, is dissatisfied with the state of dating and is tired of relationship BS and doesn’t really want to go through all that nonsense again, feeling like it only leads to something half-hearted. They want the passion, not the fake niceties.
So they decide to partake in an experiment: They’re going to spend 24 hours in their own little bubble to break past the facades that are usually erected and start their relationship off on a “real” note, if such a thing is possible. If it turns out they can’t hack it, they call it quits. If they can, they keep things going.
I dig the indie comic artwork vibe that’s used on the poster, which just shows the eyes of Sergio and Niama in a tight horizontal frame. There’s not much more to it than that but we get that these two are somehow close, which is a key message to send.
I’m not sure what role Jay and Mark Duplass play in the story itself, but they seem to play versions of themselves based on how the trailer opens and so I’m intrigued. Niama is some kind of assistant, someone who gives blunt feedback. When she goes clubbing she meets Sergio and the two hit it off immediately. Disillusioned by past relationships they agree to an unusual experiment: Spending 24 uninterrupted hours with each other to skip past some of the common elements and fast-forward through things. Their different personalities and outlooks do eventually cause friction, which is what will provide the drama in the story.
Yes, the very definite “indie” vibe that’s thrown off here is only reinforced by the presence of the Duplass brothers. But Shawkat and Costa both look like they give emotionally raw and vulnerable performances and while we all know these kinds of experiments never turn out like people expect it’s a compelling pitch just to watch these two actors bounce off each other.
Online and Social
There’s no presence on the website for The Orchard, which is distributing the film, though it did get some support on the company’s social profiles.
Advertising and Cross-Promotions
Media and Publicity
The release of the first trailer came via EW, which also included comments from the director and stars about the story and the making of the movie. The movie later screened at the Tribeca Film Festival, where it received mostly positive, if slightly mixed reviews. Aside from a few comments from the cast and crew there, that’s about it for the publicity portion of the campaign.
The campaign is alright, though it’s almost too small to make any sort of substantive judgment on. You get the basic idea of the story and the characters but it’s a bit too…fuzzy to really get a handle on. I’m sure this will resonate well with some audiences but there’s nothing here that leads me to believe it’s going to catch on with larger groups in any way. That’s not a comment on the subject matter, just on the stylistic choices being made in the marketing, with leave something to be desired.
PICKING UP THE SPARE
An interview with Shawkat here that touches on the story she wanted to tell in the movie and how it’s part of a trend of films that make the drama in queer and other non-hetero relationships absolutely normal and not at all out of the ordinary or especially overwrought.
Shawkat, Costa and others talk here about the process of not only writing the movie but filming a good number of sex scenes and what each one means about where the characters are at in the story.