On first look, A Simple Favor did not seem to be a film that I was very interested in seeing, but the new film directed by Paul Feig and starring Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively was highly entertaining.
The film starts off as an odd couple comedy with two mothers who could not be more different. Then, it turns into a mystery noir focused on what happened to Emily (Blake Lively) who disappeared after requesting that Stephanie (Anna Kendrick) picks up Emily’s son from school.
The relationship between Emily and Stephanie was a great way to start the film as both actresses have a warm charm that really served them well in this movie. They were very funny as they were getting to know one another, but you could tell that the film was setting something up as it was slowly dropping hints about the two women and their questionable pasts.
After Emily disappears, A Simple Favor becomes a different movie. There is a feel of darkness that comes into the script and the tone shifts as I was completely invested in the development of the story and discovering exactly what was going on.
I really enjoyed this movie, until a certain event happens in the finale of the film that just completely sends the film off the rails for me. Without spoiling it, the ending of this felt so out of place in either of the parts of this movie that it really detracted from the film itself. The fact that the ending did not completely ruin the movie for me is a testament to the strength of what had come before it. In that third act, I was just not sure what was going to happen ( a good thing) and I was running scenarios through my head while the scene played out, but the actual pay off was so poor that anything else would have made this movie one of the best of the year. Instead, it has to settle for being a very fun and enjoyable movie.
Blake Lively was transcendent here. She seemed to glow on the screen and I could not take my eyes off of her. She was so amazingly beautiful through the movie that I could ignore some of the more controversial things she was saying just because of her beauty.
I also enjoyed the development of the Anna Kendrick character from the beginning of the movie through the end. The use of the video blog was a clever way to provide some details to the audience. There may have been some other moments where the exposition was over used, but these vblog parts were very effective.
In the end, I really enjoyed most of A Simple Favor. It kept me off balance and uncertain about what was going to happen next and it is able to survive the shifts in tone that happen in the story. Unfortunately, the ending salvo was such a step down from the high quality of the rest of the movie that I could see how it could feel disappointing to many viewers. I was able to get past it and it did not ruin the film for me.