A Simple Favor is much like the martini referenced throughout the film. It looks enticing and it’s garnished with some great appearances — but it’s hard to swallow and leaves you with a sour taste in your mouth.
The film follows an unlikely pairing of friends — Stephanie (Anna Kendrick), an anal-retentive mommy vlogger, and Emily (Blake Lively), a chic fashion executive — who come together because their sons are best friends at school. Things take a turn for the worst when Emily asks Stephanie to pick her son up from school one day and subsequently goes missing. The rest of the film follows Stephanie and Emily’s husband, Sean (Henry Golding), as they dig into Emily’s past and uncover some shocking details.
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Directed by Paul Feig, this film is not the low-brow comedy you’d expect from the veteran responsible for Bridesmaids, Ghostbusters, and Freaks and Geeks. Still, he tries to incorporate his background into the movie with an ending so bizarre it’s actually comical.
A Simple Favor takes a sharp turn from enticing thriller to what comes across as a parody of sorts, leaving audiences questioning if they just saw the drama that was advertised or the latest installment of the Scary Movie franchise.
The plot unravels so quickly the audience feels as if it’s in free fall. The eloquent and enticing acting quickly deteriorates to that of a spoof and the last twenty minutes of the film are so bad they make you forget how decent the first half of the movie was.
The only redeeming quality of the film is being able to stare at Blake Lively and Henry Golding for two hours. But behind their attractive features, the film has several major flaws.
The greatest shortcoming of the film is that it tries to do too much. Instead of being strictly a thriller or strictly a comedy and honing that genre, it straddles both ends of the spectrum and winds up hovering over the line between entertaining and just downright stupid.
By the end of it, you’re not sure if you’re poking fun at the film or if A Simple Favor is in on the joke, with Feig making a tongue-in-cheek comment about modern-day thrillers — he couldn’t have really created a movie that ends so poorly, could he?
It’s a true shame that such A-list acting had to be wasted on such a terrible plot… or maybe it was the star power behind the film that allowed it to shine on the big screen? Either way, if you’re tuning in, as I did, to see Blake Lively, Anna Kendrick and Henry Golding, don’t waste your time. They star in a plethora of other films that are a far better use of your time. A Simple Favor is just a great inconvenience to its viewers.