A Simple Favor is funny, thrilling, and all around delightful.
Synopsis: A SIMPLE FAVOR, directed by Paul Feig, centers around Stephanie, a mommy vlogger who seeks to uncover the truth behind her best friend Emily’s sudden disappearance from their small town. Stephanie is joined by Emily’s husband Sean in this stylish thriller filled with twists and betrayals, secrets and revelations, love and loyalty, murder and revenge. (eOne Films)
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, and Henry Golding
Writer: Jessica Sharzer
Director: Paul Feig
Rating: 14A (Canada)/R (United States)
Running Time: 117mins
Paul Feig’s newest film, A Simple Favor, sets the tone from the very beginning. If you think the trailers look ridiculous, wait until you see the actual film. Feig, who has directed Spy, Bridesmaids and the Ghostbusters remake is very much at the top of his game with A Simple Favor.
The chemistry between Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively as Stephanie and Emily respectively is phenomenal. A Simple Favor hinges on this primarily, and these actresses do not disappoint. It doesn’t hurt that Feig also cast rising actor Henry Golding as Emily’s husband Sean. The performances are all great; these characters are the perfect mixture of hilarious and over-the-top, yet still believable. What starts out as a film centered around comedy, it slowly drives into a mystery film. It keeps the audience on their toes, never really knowing what to expect. There are constant twists and turns in the story, which keeps it interesting (for the most part) throughout its 117 minute running time.
The weakest part of the film is the writing. It leaves the audience desiring more than what’s actually provided. The story, especially near the end, seems too convenient to be true. It doesn’t fit with what we know about the characters, and that can be bothersome at times. While it remains interesting to watch, it seems like there were some gaps that could’ve been filled in a little better to match more with the character’s motivations.
Whether or not A Simple Favor works for you depends on how willing you are to absorb yourself into the world of the film. It definitely is not a film that grounds itself in realism. Yet, it never claims to be that type of film either. Right from the get-go, it’s obvious that the story is completely fictitious, and Feig doesn’t try to convince you otherwise.
Although the performances are certainly impressive, and it is entertaining throughout its entire running time, there are some aspects of the story that stretch the audience’s willingness to believe too far. For the most part, Feig does a good job of walking on that line, and providing the audience with an engaging film to follow. As the clues are discovered and the mystery unravels, one can’t help but be engrossed by what happens next. Some of the twists are predictable, but others come from nowhere. Lively and Kendrick are great together, and Feig’s A Simple Favor works because of it.