I've been a movie enthusiast my whole life and been writing movie reviews for over 156 years.
1 hr 57 mins
Darcey Bell (based upon the novel by), Jessica Sharzer (screenplay by)
Did you love those Pitch Perfect movies but thought “There’s way too much singing?”
Do you love Blake Lively, but think “She’s just way too lively?”
Do you love director Paul Feig’s movies but think “There’s just way too much Melissa McCarthy?”
If you answered yes to any of those questions, then A Simple Favor may be the non-Predator movie you see this weekend.
Even if you answered no, you should still see A Simple Favor because it’s a pretty fun movie not Predator-related.
This is one of those movies better left without much description because too many details would spoil the surprises but since the trailer to the movie itself lays out the entire plot, then this recap will do the exact same thing.
Anna Kendrick plays Stephanie. A single mom who enjoys vlogging recipes and has amassed quite an online following. We sense that there’s something missing in her life. Also, her husband died under mysterious circumstances. She volunteers for school functions a lot to fill the hole in her life.
Blake Lively plays Emily and her son happens to be friends with Stephanie’s son. She’s a powerful woman that works for a powerful designer.
Both Stephanie and Emily’s sons want to play together one fateful afternoon, which sets up a same sex meet-cute. Stephanie is happy to have someone to talk since her dead husband isn’t very chatty. Emily is happy to have someone to drink with.
Stephanie marvels at Emily’s big house and her glamorous lifestyle. She is also taken aback by Emily’s writer husband Sean (Crazy Rich Asians’ Henry Golding), whose book she read a decade ago.
Emily confesses their lifestyle is just a façade. They are on the verge of being bankrupt and Sean hasn’t written anything worthwhile in years. Stephanie confesses something exponentially more disgusting.
After a couple of days, they have become best friends. Close enough that Emily asks Stephanie a simple favor to pick her son up from school one day and maybe watch him for a couple of hours because she has been called away on a business trip.
It’s not a problem for Stephanie because what are best friends for?
What could be a problem is that after a couple of days Emily goes missing and some suspect foul play.
Could it be the Husband? Because it’s always the Husband
Maybe it’s their two meddling grade-school sons in a mom-killing scheme. We don’t know.
- Every time Emily shows up onscreen, Blake Lively is a profane delight. It might take a while for you to get used to seeing Lively play against type, but she settles into the role and plays off Anna Kendrick well (their differences in height are used to full effect). It’s wise that the story, by its nature, limits her screentime so that Emily doesn’t become overbearing.
- Rebounding nicely from 2016s Ghostbusters debacle, director Paul Feig transitions from Melissa McCarthy’s best movies to lurid thriller almost seamlessly. Pacing is darn-near perfect as the film never goes overlong and even the more ridiculous twists are handled with style.
- There may never be a Ghostbusters II, but at least Feig now knows that Melissa McCarthy needs him more than he needs her (see: Life of the Party and The Happytime Murders…or rather, don’t see them).
- As mentioned before, the third act descends into some ludicrous turns of story, and before you know it you’re watching a Lifetime movie with an A-list cast. That’s not to say it’s not entertaining, but you’d do well not to think about it too much.
If The Predator is sold out, do yourself a favor and watch A Simple Favor. You won’t regret it as much as Anna Kendrick does Pitch Perfect 3.