Director: Paul Feig
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, Henry Golding
RunTime: 1 hr 57 mins
Rating: M18 (Some Sexual Scenes)
Released By: GVP
Official Website: https://asimplefavor.movie
Opening Day: 13 September 2018
Synopsis: A SIMPLE FAVOR, directed by Paul Feig, centers around Stephanie (Anna Kendrick), a mommy vlogger who seeks to uncover the truth behind her best friend Emily's (Blake Lively) sudden disappearance from their small town. Stephanie is joined by Emily's husband Sean (Henry Golding) in this stylish thriller filled with twists and betrayals, secrets and revelations, love and loyalty, murder and revenge.
If Blake Lively is anything like the character she plays in this mystery thriller, we’d be worried for Ryan Reynolds. The Deadpool star, as slyly charming as he is, will be in trouble if his wife is any similar to the psychopath she plays in Paul Feig’s latest film.
Based on Darcey Bell's novel of the same name, the story sees Emily (Lively) going missing after a few cordial meetings with Stephanie (Anna Kendrick channeling her Pitch Perfect persona again), a single mother who finds time between raising her only son, recording blogger videos and looking out for new friends to make.
Emily is a vulgarity spouting career woman who gives no sh*t about being politically correct, while Stephanie is a goody two shoes who knows how to bake the best cookies and brownies. The picture is not complete without a dashing gentleman, and he comes in the form of Sean, played by a certain Henry Golding (fans of Crazy Rich Asians – scream!).
Without giving too much away, the plot involves gin and martini, a dead body, guns, lots of f bombs and a nude vagina portrait. No doubt the filmmakers are using these elements to perk up a tale of love, murder and revenge, but towards the last third of the 117 minute movie, one cannot help but think that there are a few plot twists too many.
Luckily for us members of the audience, the performances are immensely entertaining to overlook the movie’s main flaw. Kendrick (The Accountant) is as likeable as ever, while Lively (The Shallows) is an absolute joy to watch. The American actress, who shot to fame for starring in TV series Gossip Girl (2007-2012) commands every scene she is in. Her character swears, manipulates people and is a total b*tch. But boy, why wouldn’t she be the object of affection for any hot blooded male viewer?
For the ladies, eye candy comes in the form of Golding. While his performance isn’t what you’d call award worthy, the good looking actor does what he can with the role. Child actors Ian Ho and Joshua Satine are adorable as the two women’s sons, while supporting characters played by Andrew Wannells (Why Him?), Kelly McCormack and Aparna Nancherla are hilarious.
While the story was originally pitched as being similar to story had been pitched as being similar to Gone Girl (2014) and The Girl on the Train (2016), the film is a dark comedy (a wacky scene has three seemingly nerdy parents smoking pot while the cops spring a surprise ambush). Feig, who is known for helming female oriented comedies like Bridesmaids (2011), The Heat (2013) and Ghostbusters (2016), again has his two leading ladies take centre stage in this movie.
While he may not juggle the darker aspects of the story that well (there are a couple of awkward moments when you don’t know whether things are getting darkly sinister or downright funny), the result is still an entertaining one - thanks to the female protagonists’ very compelling performances.
(Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively are perfectly cast in this entertaining mystery thriller. Henry Golding? He’s there to serve as eye candy for the ladies!)
Review by John Li