It’s tough enough to pull off a mystery, but a mystery-comedy is nearly the unicorn of cinema. Director Paul Feig is at his best in the comedic moments – especially those featuring banter between Ms. Kendrick and Ms. Lively. Their scenes together are the highlights of the film … well, those and the French pop soundtrack, including “Ca S’est Arrange” over an opening credit sequence that is itself, worthy of admission. The film is oddly structured, yet still entertaining. Act I is really a dark comedy and budding friendship between polar opposite personality types, while the rest is a crazy mystery with some interesting elements as well as many plot twists people aren’t expecting.
In most thriller films, it’s rare to watch two genres getting merged into one and still work. ‘A Simple Favor’ took the thriller genre and added comedy in a very subtle way. The cast had so much chemistry and it created a better environment for the viewers to enjoy and really take in every twist and turn because of the perfect casting of Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively.
Neurotic Mommy Vlogger Stephanie (Anna Kendrick) is a widowed mother to a young son, and she’s the overly perky and perfect mom that causes other parents to sneer and snark behind her back. She’s also so desperate for human connection that she’s willing to befriend Emily (Blake Lively), the martini-guzzling fashion industry executive who is a hands-off mother to Stephanie’s son’s friend. We soon learn that martinis and playdates shouldn’t be mixed.
Stephanie and Emily share dark, personal secrets. Emily discusses the financial woes she and her husband Sean (Henry Golding) are experiencing, even though they live in an ultra-modern mansion. He had success with his first novel, but has been hit with writer’s block since marrying Emily. As the two ladies bond, we get the feeling that Emily is playing some type of game with the always-cheerful Stephanie, though to what end we aren’t sure. One day, Stephanie does Emily a “favor” and then Emily disappears without a trace or word.
The Greyhound Growl gives A Simple Favor 4 out of 4 paws.