Directed by: Paul Feig
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, Henry Golding
Single mum and vlogger Stephanie (Anna Kendrick) seeks to uncover the truth about the disappearance of her glamourous best friend Emily (Blake Lively).
Directed by Paul Feig, who’s best known for his comedy films, A Simple Favour combines humour with an intriguing mystery. Scriptwriter Jessica Sharzer has crafted a stylish semi-thriller that has nearly as many unbelievable twists as it does laughs. That’s the thing about A Simple Favour, by it having a dark and twisted sense of humour at its core, the drama is even more compelling.
Kendrick and Lively are both fabulous in their roles, and whenever they share a scene their chemistry is off the charts. Stephanie is sweet and kind and is the sort of person who annoys the other parents for being almost too good a parent. Emily on the other hand, is reserved and elegant with a high-powered job in the city. She and Stephanie are opposites but as their sons are friends, they get to know one another and become friends too. Though I feel friends should be in quotation marks because as Stephanie investigates Emily’s disappearance, it becomes clearer to her that she knew very little about her friend. However, the audience, much like the other parents at the school, could see from the outset that it seemed Emily was using Stephanie.
A Simple Favour manages to be both quirky and stylish at the same time, with its dark witty humour and tense thriller elements; mysterious letters, children seeing things and unexpected phone calls abound. This juxtaposition is seen in Stephanie and Emily too. Stephanie wears bright, cutesy clothes while Emily wears sharp suits. Stephanie’s home is lived in and comfy, while Emily’s is all monochrome and straight lines. Stephanie looks completely out of place in Emily’s house, but you soon learn Stephanie isn’t as naïve or meek as she appears.
A Simple Favour is wild in the best possible way. There’s twists and turns, characters say and do outlandish things but amazingly it all works. Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out something else happens out of the blue. The fact the film keeps going, getting bolder and stranger as it goes, might not work for some but if you’re happy to hang on and go for the ride, A Simple Favour is brilliant.