PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY)
By: Film Critic Stephanie Cooke
A Simple Favor stars Anna Kendrick as a lonely mommy blogger/widow named Stephanie who becomes best friends with the most unlikely of moms — Emily (played by Blake Lively). Emily is a professional mom who works in fashion in the city and is married to a once-upon-a-time writer (Henry Golding).
Their friendship develops (a bit too quickly to keep up with actually), and Stephanie finds herself doing more and more favors for Emily: like picking up her son after school and revealing more and more about her own past to Emily. But, Emily is not reciprocating… in fact, oddly enough, it seems she’s doing more hiding than anything else.
The film really gets going when Emily goes missing and her body is found. Kendrick and Lively are fantastic… the timing is great and chemistry between them is fascinating. The first third of the film is almost an unmasking of female friendships, driving home how much women want them and how far women sometimes go to keep them.
Kudos to the writers for letting the female leads stand strong and not get trapped in the stereotypical characters they seem at first to be creating. A Simple Favor (Lionsgate/Feigco Entertainment) is written by Jessica Sahrzer — she’s known for her writing on TV’s American Horror Story — and newcomer Darcey Bell.
It does wander about between crime, drama, comedy, and mystery. But exactly what the film was trying to be could have been complicated by the directing… It’s directed by comedy powerhouse Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, Knocked Up, Bad Teacher, The Heat, Spy, Ghostbusters). There’s a lot more story and substance happening in here than in any of the comedies he’s directed. It’s almost like the writers and the director couldn’t decide on the actual ending, so they do all of them!
A Simple Favor is a nail-biter for sure… And, while it’s not the best film of the year…
it’s the best I’ve seen lately!
THREE AND A HALF out of FIVE COOKIES
TWEET Stephanie Cooke @HRShowEPSteph
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Locations across Hampton Roads
This segment of The Hampton Roads Show sponsored by Cinema Cafe.