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The Independent Critic

Written and Directed by
Andy Milkis
Maria Bisso, Charlie McWade, Kim Milkis, Geoffrey Stevens
Running Time

 "Butterball Hotline" Review 
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If you've ever wondered how to make perfect stuffing, owned a seeing eye lizard, experienced trauma with turkey or just really loved a high quality, heartfelt and humorous short film, then writer/director Andy Milkis's brand new short, Butterbird Hotline, is a film you won't want to miss.

Barbara Sue Whittson (Maria Bisso) is a cooking counselor for Butterbird, the nation's largest turkey company. Butterbird set up the hotline to help customers with their turkey prep questions, and Barbara has worked with them for 17 years in continuing a prized family turkey tradition.

Exuding kindness and warmth with just the perfect smidgen of quirkiness, Maria Bisso is an absolute delight as humorously sweet Barbara. Barbara looks like she'd be right at home on the cover of Martha Stewart, but there's something underneath her genteel smile and friendly advice ... a reveal that is slowly rolled out and gives Butterbird Hotline its abundance of humor that never comes at the expense of the film's aura of goodness, heart and retro sensibility.

Butterbird Hotline could easily have been turned into a mere caricature of holiday warmth, but Andy Milkis and crew paint the film in a tremendous down home warmth from the color schemes chosen to the costuming to D.P. Jon Fordham's expertly lensed camera work. Everything that is constructed around Barbara Sue complements her, a fact that only makes her ultimate reveal that much more impactful and, especially surprising for what is essentially a comedy, emotionally resonant.

The warmth and emotional transparency of Maria Bisso's Barbara Sue is contrasted wonderfully with Charlie McWade's more off-kilter turn as Barbara Sue's long lost love, Charlie. There's a rather hilarious beauty that exists between Bisso and McWade, a comfort and chemistry that will make you laugh and smile just a little bit more.

Having had its world premiere at the 2011 Garden State Film Festival, Butterbird Hotline is currently continuing its film festival run and should prove to be incredibly popular on the indie and comedy fest circuits. Milkis, whose doc 5...6...7...8 was a fave indie of The Independent Critic's from last year, proves once again that he's an up-and-coming filmmaker to be watched. For more information on Butterbird Hotline, check out the film's website listed above.