Sometimes I have the pleasure of walking into a movie with absolutely no idea what the film is about, having seen no marketing at all, and just letting the movie wash over me. It’s rare, but on occasion, it happens. In this instance, Paul Feig’s A Simple Favour, coming out mid-September starring Blake Lively (Gossip Girl, Age of Adaline, The Shallows) and Anna Kendrick (Up In The Air, Pitch Perfect), was a pleasant surprise.
Make no mistake, this movie isn’t going to blow your socks off, be on top of anyone’s list of best of 2018, or skyrocket anyone’s career. But – it was fun. A lot of fun. For me, anyways. It’s nestled nicely between the blockbusters of the American summer movie season, but graces our screens before the inundation of Oscar-bait movies come out. At first I wondered why this movie was getting a theatrical release in the first place, given how comfortable it would be on a streaming service like Netflix, but its opening weekend box office numbers would prove me wrong there.
A Simple Favour, despite its name, is not a simple movie. There’s much tooing and froing between plots, red herrings and over the top reveals, but it’s all wrapped up in one of the most complicated tones I’ve ever come across. It’s like Gone Girl meets Nancy Drew, complete with the most absurd/over the top outfits you could imagine. Anna Kendrick is a mummy blogger who makes an unlikely friendship with Blake Lively, a sophisticated, foul mouthed, fashionista from the city. Then, Blake Lively’s character goes missing. And off you go.
This movie takes a bunch of twists and turns, some of them predictable, some of them less so. Some of them welcome, some of them are definitely not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. At first you’re thinking this is going to be about these two women teaching one another, rubbing off on one another, and allowing each character to grow and mature. But then it takes a turn. And another. And another. The whole while, I’m guessing where the movie is going, and it’s not completely unpredictable, but the route it takes to get there! That’s where the fun is! I will say, by the end of the film, A Simple Favour had completely won me over. I was on board, having a great time, laughing my guts up in the cinema. However, there were moments – more than a few of them – throughout this film – where I was really wondering where it was going. It reeled me back in easily, but your mileage may vary with this one.
Both leads are fantastic, particularly Lively, but I also want to give a shout out to both Linda Cardellini and Jean Smart. Both show up in brief scenes, but totally fit into this crazy, whacky film, without skipping a beat.
There’s a reserved nagging that I should mention the cliché of two women, in the same film, unable to be friends, pitted against one another by writers. And yes, this movie does that. But it’s so tongue in cheek, and barrels between what’s happening/what you think is happening, that I was able to overlook this flaw and have a great old time.
This isn’t a perfect movie, but it’s fun. At least, I found it fun. There were a couple of moments in the film, where the audience I was watching it with gasped – and I burst out laughing. Maybe I was off on my own, but I thoroughly enjoyed A Simple Favour, probably more than most.
A Simple Favour is showing now, feel free to watch it if you want a night out. Feel like having some fun, maybe with some friends and glass of wine. Otherwise, it’s a perfect movie to wait until it comes out on Netflix or Stan. Don’t rush, but keep it in the back of your mind when you’re scrolling through the 99c section on iTunes.
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