Stephanie Smothers (Anna Kendrick) is a stay-at-home single mom who dotes on her little boy and runs a house-keeping youtube channel. Running rings around the other moms with all her do-gooder enthusiasm, she finds herself strangely befriended by the caustically glamorous Emily Nelson (Blake Lively). With no time for anybody, the enigmatic Emily seems an odd friend, leading the other mothers to suspect she’s just using Stephanie as unpaid childcare for her little boy. When Emily calls Stephanie for “a simple favour” (to pick up her son from school) Stephanie thinks it’ll just be for a few hours. However hours turns into days and Emily is nowhere to be seen…
...a delicious swipe at parenting and how people see themselves in a small town community.
Paul Feig’s ‘A Simple Favour’ is a delicious swipe at parenting and how people see themselves in a small town community. Echo-ing some the bitchiness of ‘Young Adult’, this is a film that thrives on Emily’s one-liners and her compulsion to shock prudish Stephanie at every opportunity. Yet once the central characters have been safely drawn, what is a satire swiftly changes into a murder mystery with twists and turns aplenty.
In terms of the acting Anna Kendrick easily slips into the role of Stephanie displaying an always-buoyant, chipper attitude which plays perfectly against Blake Lively’s metropolitan man-eater stuck in the country side. Whilst some of the other side characters come in for more lazy brush strokes (i.e. Andrew Rannells’s Darren, a gay dad who is played solely for laughs) the central triangle of Kendrick, Lively and Henry Golding as Sean (Emily’s vacuous husband), keep the sparks flying so that’ll you’ll be kept guessing right up until the end.
A little overcooked on its own intrigue by the finale, ‘A Simple Favour’ is still an absorbing watch and Blake Lively really makes the role of Emily her own, wielding each scene as an opportunistic pin to burst the assumptions of those around her. Catch her in this movie before she and her talent runs away.