Ash Gomez encourages viewing A Simple Favor, so long as you take it as a simple film.
Director: Paul Feig
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, Henry Golding
A Simple Favor is a film that does not take itself too seriously, and encourages its audience to do the same. Positioning itself squarely into the thriller subgenre of films that want to be Gone Girl, the film offers fun and intrigue, as long as you never look too closely.
The story begins with the unlikely friendship between mommy vlogger Stephanie (Anna Kendrick) and the glamorous PR director of a prominent fashion company, Emily (Blake Lively). When Emily goes missing, Stephanie finds herself directly involved in the series of lies that make up the life of her best friend. Although the two act like complete opposites, Stephanie learns that they are more alike than they seem, and she channels her inner Emily in order to solve the mystery of her best friend’s disappearance.
Kendrick and Lively completely dominate the film with their chemistry. It is refreshing to see both women in roles they are not usually typecast for, and it seems that they feel refreshed, too. The rest of the cast is largely forgettable, even the supporting man Henry Golding, who seems to have been fed cheesy overly-dramatic lines simply so that he could be in the trailers.
The main selling point of this film is that it is incredibly watchable. It explodes with entertainment value, although it struggles to be much else. Director Paul Feig opts for a series of interesting choices, some that work – like the quirky soundtrack of French pop, and some that do not – like the constant, jarring tonal shifts.
The film explodes with entertainment value, although it struggles to be much else.
Like most mystery thrillers, any close examination of the story reveals a Swiss cheese expanse of plot holes, but the visuals and acting offer a nice distraction. The final act is almost too ridiculous to bear, making for a disappointing endnote to a largely promising film. Still, the film makes for a solid throwaway date night viewing.
In a nutshell: Despite its flaws, A Simple Favor is entertaining enough to warrant the viewing.