This year’s Gone Girl?
A Simple Favour is a film that almost completely slipped under my radar – I hadn’t even heard about it till a week ago when I saw the trailer.
And here’s why I loved the trailer. It gave very little away and left you wanting more – exactly how a trailer should be. I could rant all day about how they often give away way too much of the plot and spoil a film, but don’t worry, I won’t.
The movie sees Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect series) as Stephanie, a socially awkward stay-at-home Mom who runs a video blog (‘vlogs’ as the kids are calling it!), mostly giving advice to other parents – with riveting subjects such as how to sneak vegetables into kids’ snacks. When Stephanie’s son makes a new friend at school, she’s introduced to the other boy’s mother, Emily (played by The Shallows star Blake Lively).
Emily is the polar opposite to Stephanie. She’s a confident and often terrifying fashion PR who has it all – designer clothes, a huge house and an attractive award-winning novelist husband (Crazy Rich Asians star Henry Golding).
When Emily vanishes, Stephanie decides to investigate – receiving guidance from her ever-growing vlog fan-base.
Kendrick and Lively have great on-screen chemistry. You get the feeling they get along great off-screen making their friendship even more believable on-screen.
Lively particularly shines, effortlessly playing the role of the classy, mysterious and intimidating – yet captivating – character. When you’re written into a script as someone who has everyone irresistibly drawn to you, you have to be a certain type of person to pull it off – and she does so tremendously.
I hate to say it, but it’s the recently-lauded Golding who doesn’t particular add much to the table. The man can act but I felt he wasn’t cast particularly well – hardly reacting at all to the madness unfolding around him.
And speaking of the director, Paul Feig is the man behind the camera. He’s the filmmaker behind hits such as Bridesmaids, Spy, and the not so great Ghostbusters reboot.
This is very different to Feig’s usual movies, but I liked that. It was great having a taster of his darker side. Unfortunately, his usual goofy comedy style slipped in during the third act, feeling out of place with the rest of the movie – and for me, that ending almost ruined what is genuinely a gritty and quite gripping mystery thriller.
But even though it’s not quite as polished as Gone Girl (which this is frequently compared to) it certainly gives it a good shot – and it’s an enjoyable watch that will leave you guessing throughout. It’s as simple as that.
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, Henry Golding, Ian Ho, Joshua Satine, Andrew Rannells, Kelly Mccormack, Rupert Friend & Linda Cardellini
Running Time: 1 Hr 56 Mins
Director: Paul Feig
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