Film Review: Entertaining ‘A Simple Favor’ Can’t Maintain Its Mojo

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Average: 5 (1 vote)

CHICAGO – As the secrets are revealed in “A Simple Favor,” filtered through the witty and entertaining directorial style of Paul Feig (“Bridesmaids”), the story moves with charm and energy for three-quarters of its running time. But as the mystery gets solved, the conclusion doesn’t live up to the promising beginning.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

Feig unusually adapted this from a novel (by Darcey Bell), so the plot was set in a stone and structure within the screenplay by Jessica Sharzer. The top of the film is a study in contrasts, as a “perfect Mom” encounters a less-than-caring mother in their children’s school. The Mom of Perfection is looking to jumpstart her life of mendacity, and the other Mum provides that path with her afternoon boozing and sex conversations. This is the strength of the film, Anna Kendrick (as perfect Mom) is essential casting against Blake Lively’s wild mater. But the plot dictates that Blake’s character disappears, and when that occurs the story becomes more conventional. But the front piece is fun and saucy, with Feig-ian jabs at motherhood expectations, fashion and New York City pretentiousness. Thus it becomes the sizzle, followed by the fizzle.

Stephanie (Anna Kendrick) is a recently widowed single mother, who uses her meager insurance settlement to become super-Mom to her son Miles (Joshua Satine) and his activities. She also has a video blog (“vlog”) where she passes along her Mommy tips, much to consternation of the rest of the town’s parents. But there is obviously something missing in her, and she is about to find it.

Emily (Blake Lively) has a son in Miles’ class, and as she connects with Stephanie, it becomes obvious this is the companionship is what super-Mom was missing. Their boozy afternoons turn into confessions, and the exchange of information creates a sense of uncertainty. When Emily disappears, Stephanie gets more entrenched in that intrigue, including a connection to Emily’s husband Sean (Henry Golding). Altogether, their lives will never be the same again.

“A Simple Favor” opened everywhere on September 14th. Featuring Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, Henry Golding, Rupert Friend, Jean Smart, Joshua Satine and Linda Cardenllini. Screenplay adapted by Jessica Sharzer, from a novel by Darcey Bell. Directed by Paul Feig. Rated “R”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “A Simple Favor”

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Stephanie (Anna Kendrick) and Emily (Blake Lively) of ‘A Simple Favor’
Photo credit: Lionsgate

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “A Simple Favor”

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