The film is led by Anna Kendrick as vlogger mom Stephanie Smothers, searching for the foul-mouthed and mysterious Emily Nelson (Blake Lively). Both actresses embody the characters they play in a way that makes it almost seem like you are watching a true crime series or an episode of Dateline. Every one-on-one scene with Kendrick and Lively had me captivated to see where their relationship was going to go. The two play off each other with a natural chemistry.
Another stand-out from the film is the direction. “A Simple Favor” marks a pretty massive stylistic departure for Paul Feig, who in the past has stuck to goofy comedies (most notably, 2011’s “‘Bridesmaids”). Feig knocks this one out of the park. The production design is perfect for the story and each character’s wardrobe tells so much about their personalities.
Another highlight of the film is the poignant dialogue. Almost every conversation plays on the big screen as a Sorkin-esque battle of the wits. The writing paired with the performances is what allows this film to rise above being another lackluster, cookie-cutter thriller.
My only complaint with the film lies in its final act, where it started to lose my attention. The film starts to take turns that seem unmotivated and irrational, rather than pre-planned. The ending of the film borders on melodramatic but that being said, the beginning 90 percent of this film is stellar.
I look forward to what Feig cooks up next, and hope we get to see Kendrick and Lively on the big screen together again soon. I really enjoyed “A Simple Favor” and I think you will too.
Jacob Hales, Features Writer