This one, took me by surprise. I expected to enjoy A Simple Favor because it seemed like the type of mystery-thriller I’m accustomed to enjoying, but I legitimately loved this and it is the second time a film with Blake Lively has become one of my favorites of the year (the first being The Shallows).
A Simple Favor is directed by Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, Ghostbusters) with a script by Jessica Sharzer based on the nice of the same name by Darcey Bell. It stars Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively and Henry Golding.
Stephanie Smothers (Kendrick) is a single mother with a Vlog dedicated to cooking, is investigating the disappearance of her best friend Emily Nelson (Lively). Emily had asked Stephanie to pick up her son after school (the simple favor) and never returned. From there, whatever can happen will happen.
There are quite a few elements that make A Simple Favor a great fun time at the movies. One of these is the perfect casting and chemistry of Kendrick and Lively. Their conversations with each other in the first third of the film is a blast to watch because you have a fusion of Kendrick’s awkward yet adorableness and Lively’s liberated and assertiveness. The combination of the two is undeniably potent.
Now you might be able to telegraph the beats that come along with a film like A Simple Favor and while I feel that is certainly by design, the ride is what you are here for. You basically have a modern Hitchcockian comedy-thriller. When it wants to be funny, it is hilarious. If the film decides to take itself seriously, it absolutely does and you manage to switch gears with it just as easily. Anything you know about a noir film and those tropes and cliches are present but it is not trying to reinvent the wheel. It just wants to have you enjoy the wheel and it certainly entertains. It gets twisted and even slides to the dark side for a moment, but it all works and never felt disjointed.
With all the focus now on major tent pole films, I adore the opportunity to enjoy experiences like this that take something familiar and just manage to give you something new with something old. A Simple Favor is simply fun.