A Simple Favour is a crime thriller/comedy directed by Paul Feig and starring the charismatic duo Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick.
From the initial trailer A Simple Favour presents itself as a crime mystery thriller that will hold you in suspense til the end. Now where for the most part it accomplishes that what it doesn’t tell you is that Paul Feig’s comedic touch has a major impact on the overall tone. The story follows Stephanie (Anna Kendrick) a mother and foodventures blogger who begins investigating the sudden and mysterious disappearance of her best friend Emily (Blake Lively). It’s a pretty compelling story for the majority of the runtime. It starts off slow and the real mystery at hand doesn’t kick into gear until a decent way into the film as it spends the entire first act foreshadowing plot points and key details that play a part later in the story. This first act can be a bit of a chore to get through while you wait for the mystery to kick as it consists of a lot of dialogue between Kendrick and Lively predominately. Although it’s the occasional comedic beats that make it worthwhile. The way certain small throwaway lines play into the story later on is some clever storytelling that in hindsight pays off well.
Once the mystery kick in and Kendrick begins her woman-hunt it’s a thoroughly entertaining journey that I have to say does not go where you think it will at almost any moment. It’s relatively easy to follow through all the turns the story takes but there is a patch early in the third act that does get a little confusing with all of the exposition and mass information that is thrown at you. I started to get a bit confused by the confluence of events but it does clear things up towards the end of the film.
The reason why this entire film works is due to the chemistry between dynamic duo Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively. They share such a ‘lively’ bond in this movie that you instantly fall in love with both of their characters and their personalities which are entirely unique of each other. The reason why you can get so invested in the story as it progresses is because of the relationship set up between Kendrick and Lively in the first act. Their constant clashing makes for a number of amusing sequences between the two that keep the tone ‘lively’ (sorry). Lively is all class in here and completely owns every one of her scenes with ease. She’s an on-screen presence and you’re in awe of her the entire time, a fact which also plays into the character she’s playing. Kendrick is hilarious in a role which is a little unusual for her as she’s playing a single mother. It’s not the type of role I associate with Kendrick but it’s great to see her playing outside the more younger character roles she’s more well known for.
Then you have a thin supporting cast which I describe as thin because there really are only a small handful of supporting characters who play a part in the entire film. You have the two kids played by Ian Ho and Joshua Satine who are cute and have their fair share of funny moments but don’t really add a whole lot to the story. To my surprise and basically everyone else’s in the theatre Henry Golding shows up as Lively’s husband in the film. Henry has come out of nowhere in 2018 with a breakout starring role in Crazy Rich Asians and now this, and he’s great in both. He contributes to the story and the mystery elements really well and is the best of the supporting cast. There’s a group of three parents who show up here and there to inject a bit more of Feig’s comedy into the story but they’re a bit hit or miss.
The comedy aspect works really well and surprisingly isn’t as jarring as you’d think. Its a near perfect balance of suspense and Feig’s comedy to where you spend a good amount of the film laughing but still feel the suspense through every scenes. It’s rather impressive execution if you ask me. I also love the way it’s shot through this high-class elegant lens that makes it all visually feel like a suburban noir in the vein of Gone Girl (2014).
In the end, A Simple Favour is a very worthwhile watch and I definitely recommend it for anyone seeking a crime mystery/thriller with a dash of comedy from Paul Feig. For anyone who is a fan of either Blake Lively or Anna Kendrick this is a must as the two of them together make this a thoroughly enjoyable ride. A slow first act that for the most part is made up for with the third act payoff and some confusion in the plot going into the third act do hurt the film but not by that much. Nonetheless it’s still very enjoyable and a fun ride from beginning to end.