A Simple Favor: A Fun Comedic Thriller

Stephanie (Anna Kendrick, left) and Emily (Blake Lively, right) in A SIMPLE FAVOR. Photo Credit: Peter Iovino

Based on the book of the same name, Paul Feig’s A Simple Favor offers a charming fun comedic thriller with a side dish of mystery.

Stephanie Smothers (Anna Kendrick) is a vlogger who investigates the disappearance of her best friend, Emily Nelson (Blake Lively).  They met because of their children attending the same elementary school in their small Connecticut town.  Quickly becoming friends, Stephanie helps Emily’s husband, Sean Townsend (Henry Golding), during this time of crisis.

With a vlog at her hands, Stephanie uses it with the hope of finding Emily.  Watching her follower count rise throughout the whole ordeal makes for an interesting subplot.  Between the cops and the vlog, authorities are able to track Emily’s location.  It’s not over for Stephanie though as she thinks there’s more here than meets the eye.  I don’t think it’s really a spoiler to say that we should expect twists and turns.

This is one of those films that is hard to discuss without entering spoiler territory.  Anyway, it’s one of the more charming entries of the Gone Girl universe if such universe is considered a thing.  If it isn’t, it ought to be.  It already follows the blueprint set forth by Gillian Flynn in the aforementioned Gone Girl.  Without diving into spoiler territory, Jessica Sharzer’s screenplay is very full of comedic charm.

It’s not your typical Paul Feig film.  For one, nowhere to be seen in the film is Feig film veteran Melissa McCarthy.  Instead, we have Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively in the leading roles.  Even if the film is being billed as a thriller, there’s going to be some comedic moments involved.  Hell, it was shot as if it were a comedy set in the suburbs!  I know that I laughed quite a bit in watching.  Maybe we can call it a satirical response to Gone Girl?  Regardless, Paul Feig has yet to disappoint and I’ll keep coming back for whatever the Freaks and Geeks creator does.

Can we talk about Anna Kendrick’s wardrobe in this film?  Seriously.  It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a film where I want to own the clothing seen on screen.  But that’s how it is with every top, dress, and skirt that her character wears in the film.  Thank you to costume designer Renée Ehrlich Kalfus for placing all these bright-colored outfits on display.  On top of it all, Oscar-nominated actress is so fun to watch in the film.  It’s through her Oscar-nominated performance in Up in the Air in which I became a fan of her work but she’s never ceased to disappoint.  Her performance in this film is among my favorite Kendrick performances.

Blake Lively’s character takes on a more serious tone.  She’s well-dressed in a way that balances out Kendrick’s wardrobe, too.  The Dennis Nylon Holdings public relations director plays it straight to Kendrick’s witty side.   Overall, the two of them have great chemistry together.

On the leading actor front, Crazy Rich Asians star Henry Golding is well on his way to becoming a star.  Don’t forget his name because he’s not going away anytime soon.  Even though he gets third billing, it’s a solid turn for one of this summer’s biggest stars.

With brilliant performances from Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, and Henry Golding, Paul Feig’s A Simple Favor offers a excellent comedic thriller that adds to the missing woman universe.

DIRECTOR: Paul Feig
SCREENWRITER:  Jessica Sharzer
CAST:  Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, Henry Golding, Andrew Rannells, Linda Cardellini, Jean Smart, and Rupert Friend

Lionsgate opened A Simple Favor in theaters on September 14, 2018.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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