A SIMPLE FAVOR -- GRADE: A
Let me do you a solid. Go see this under-the-radar, highly entertaining comedy-thriller about an interesting female friendship.
You probably haven't heard much about A Simple Favor. All I'd seen was paparazzi shots of #BlakeLively on a promo tour wearing a dream closet's worth of unbelievably beautiful designer suits. (Which, sign me up, to be honest.) Heard it was directed by Paul Feig, who has a pretty impeccable track record of producing movies featuring fully-formed and quite hilarious female characters (Bridesmaids, The Heat, Spy, Ghostbusters.) And the always adorkable #AnnaKendrick was along for the ride. So I was intrigued.
Intrigued enough to see it in the theater? Not really. I hadn't seen anything written about it and had no idea what is was about. A comedy, drama? Then I start hearing it's getting great reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. Okay... I check it out on IMDB and discover it's based on a book by a woman (Darcey Bell), and adapted into a screenplay by Jessica Sharzer (The L Word, American Horror Story). So now I'm all in. And I'm glad I took the chance.
This is one of the most entertaining, twisty-turny comedy thrillers I've seen ... pretty much ever. Kendrick plays Stephanie, a mommy vlogger who becomes fast friends with glamorous PR exec Emily (Lively), whose sons are in the same elementary-school class, and whose husband is a sweet and dreamy author, played by Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians). Emily seduces the buttoned-up Stephanie with her perfectly-made afternoon martinis and give-no-f-cks attitude, but then one day, Emily up and disappears, leaving her son -- and husband, really -- in Stephanie's care. And we're off on a wild ride as we follow Stephanie down her rabbit hole of an amateur investigation.
I'm pretty good at guessing the twists in your average whodunit, but I didn't see most of these plot turns coming. Plus, the leads are fabulous, and the script is smart and even LOL funny at moments. It's beautifully and stylishly shot. I'm a sucker for any film about female friendship, especially one with two actresses as intelligent and likable as these two.
Femme Critic Score:
Female Leads: Two excellent ones.
Female Director: No, but Paul Feig might as well be one.
Female Writer: Yes! Great script.
Passes the Bechdel Test: Of course!