Directed by actor/producer/director/writer, Paul Fieg, based on the best-selling novel by Darcy Bell and Starring Blake Lively (Emily) and Anna Kendrick (Stephanie), A Simple Favor is a crime/drama/mystery wherein a woman’s search to uncover the truth about the disappearance of her best friend leads her down a winding, mysterious and dangerous path.
A Simple Favor starts out really strong and keeps you guessing nearly until the end, because if, like me, you have not read the book or seen a trailer you don’t quite know where the story will go. It was like Single White Female meets Gone Girl meets any of a dozen or so lifetime movies I’ve seen.
What sets A Simple Favor apart is, it is laugh out loud funny at times. I don’t know what the limit on designations is, but /comedy should absolutely have been included. It also has mystery, suspense, plenty of crime and criminals and is packed with Dra-Ma. But it is the comedic moments that makes A Simple Favor special. Shout out to Jessica Sharzer on her first feature length screenplay! Home run!
The two main characters are richly written; well developed and multifaceted. And that Blake Lively wears a masculine suit like a boss! I loved the contrast between the two characters and how the differences in their personalities and styles were not only acted out, but also demonstrated through wardrobe, hair, makeup and set design. (Kudos to those departments!) Lively’s acting chops are on point. She is funny, crazy and frightening, sometimes all at once. Anna Kendrick is perfectly directed as a person trying a little too hard to act like a “regular” person. On the one hand she is this super-sharp, super sleuth, putting together the pieces of this mystery; on the other she is a total social moron, and it is hilarious. The material is funny enough to stand on its own, then Kendrick punches it up into comedy gold.
Since I would never watch a Twilight movie in this lifetime and have never seen any of those Pitch Perfect films (I can’t really say why; just because), I “discovered” Kendrick later in her career (she’s been at it since 2003, steadily since 2007) when I reviewed Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates (here’s my review). I have to say, she is turning into a favorite for me. And somehow, so too is Blake Lively! (This surprises even me for some reason). Even though she did a good job on Gossip Girl, I couldn’t tell if she could actually act or was simply relying on her pretty (that was the crux of her character), but her acting is getting better and better. She was comfortable and effortless in this role. (Or maybe I’m just still crushing on those clothes…) At any rate, these two did outstanding work and looked like they had great fun while doing it.
The inclusion of the culture of blogging/vlogging is not just some attempt to “modernize” the story by bringing social media into the mix. It is smartly used as a vehicle to move the story along.
The way the bat-shit craziness (there is no better-fitting phrase) of these two women unfolds is nothing short of genius. I laughed for about 5 straight minutes (internally – to myself of course. There were other people in the theater to consider), while I struggled to gain my composure and continue!
I was like, wait a minute… Who the hell are these people!? I know many lovely people, but not one who would allow themselves to be sucked all the way up into a stranger’s life in this way, proclaiming to be “best friends.” I thought, Maybe I’m too “wise” or “street smart” or too “New York.” That one point made it hard for me to believe anything about this movie – until I started writing about it and the lightbulb went off! In the middle of attempting to relay how this one point ruined this movie for me, it all became crystal clear. Believe me when I tell you, this was a veeery different review about an hour ago. Well played Jessica Sharzer… Well. Played.
A Simple Favor earned 8.5 out of 10 bloops. Is it perfect? Nah! It meanders in some spots. But aside from that, it is a great movie that is a lot of fun and shouldn’t be missed, if only for Blake Lively’s fabulous wardrobe! Just kidding. The tale is well executed, entertaining, super cute and funny. It made me want to read the book and after reading this article I’m certain I will get around to it one day very soon.
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1 = worst ever, avoid at all cost
2 = very bad, forget about it!
3 = poor movie, not recommended
4 = not good, even for free – NO!
5 = so-so, worth it if you don’t have to pay
6 = not bad, could have been better
7 = good movie, worth seeing
8 = great movie, don’t miss it!
9 = excellent movie, a must see!
10 = a masterpiece, go see it now!
What I’m seeing/reviewing next…
Thankfully, there’s nothing coming out this week I feel I need to rush and see so I’ll be doing some catching up.
Assassination Nation – saw it already and honestly, I won’t know what I think about this movie until I write it out. It’s purposefully unfocused, bazaar and aggressive but I’m not sure if it’s all purposeful, so I have to give that some thought.
The House with the Clock In Its Walls – saw it last night. Review up soon.
Colette – have no idea what it’s about. Just that Keira Knightly is in it and I’m there.
Life Itself – seeing this tonight and I cannot wait.
Support the Girls
Crazy Rich Asians
The Happytime Murders
Won’t You Be My Neighbor
Sorry to Bother You
Avengers: Infinity War
You Were Never Really Here
A Quiet Place
Ready Player One
A Wrinkle in Time
The Florida Project
Den of Thieves
All the Money in the World
The Greatest Showman
The Disaster Artist
Call Me By Your Name
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
The Shape of Water
The Man Who Invented Christmas
Victoria and Abdul
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
The Big Sick
All Eyez on Me
It Comes at Night
The Wedding Plan
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Kong: Skull Island
The Girl with All the Gifts
A Cure for Wellness
Hell or High Water
La La Land
Manchester by the Sea
I Am Not Your Negro