Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases
Blake Lively – Emily
Anna Kendrick – Stephanie
Henry Golding – Sean
Andrew Rannells – Darren
This movie is a different kind of offfering from Paul Feig, who veers away from the usual hilarity to bring a story of two women and their friendship which spirals into something sinister. This is a movie that engulfs the viewer in mystery as it unfolds and the plot is as unpredictable as Emily’s dangerous intentions.
One to focus on, A Simple Favourseems to hurtle towards something – before shifting track – and then hurtling in a different direction. It’s clever, at points sexy (given the adulterous behaviour of the sultry lead lady) and feeds on throwing unexpected plot twists at the viewer. This is Gone Girlmaterial (bit like Searching) and involves some viciously entertaining action, the type of stuff many viewers may be left aghast at. From parents mouthing off in front of their children and getting up to drunken antics with friends, to faking a disappearance or even murder, A Simple Favour provides more ‘WTF’ moments than so many other films that have been released this year. You’ll think it’s either messed up or very enjoyable.
Kendrick is amazingly plain isn’t she. Petite and pale the woman makes about as much of an impact in this movie as a (used) paintbrush in a jar of water. She makes herself known but doesn’t add much colour, basically. Whereas Lively has far more flavour as the sassy, daring Emily. I am unsure whether pairing these two together was a wise decision, Lively needed an actress far more dynamic to go up against. The story certainly needed this, especially given the awkward scenario Stephanie got caught up in. Not the best casting.
Something was wrong. Something was missing, and not just Emily. A Simple Favour may have been built from deliciously dark ideas for its core concept, but it carried itself too lightly. Kendrick came across like a girl tasked with the mission of tracking down an absent friend, at the same time as running her live blog. The fact the peachy-faced woman continued to jump online and present her cookery show lowered the tension of the movie massively. Like a woman trying to locate a missing relative, but kicking back occasionally and hosting lighthearted web chats. And having her round up a nail-biting scene in a way which looked like a high school senior revealing a classmate had just cheated in an exam was just plain crap. She just isn’t compelling enough. The storyline may have warranted darkly funny moments but Stephanie’s were too weak at points.
The most important observation on my part though – something could have been different here. Be it plot-wise or performance-wise, A Simple Favour was missing a certain element.
A Simple Favour isn’t overly bad. But it isn’t overly brilliant. It offers enough of a story to keep viewers engaged as what happens to the characters unfolds, and the plot twists are juicy. If anything, it sets itself apart from other films of recent days with its originality and the way it oozes pure mystery. Something could have been done differently though.
Do you get the snacks in one evening and make the effort to watch it though? – yes. I just cannot deny this movie does the trick, so give it a go.