Movie Review: A Simple Favor
Sometimes when you differ from the general consensus on a film, it’s because of differences in personal taste. Sometimes, everything about a movie is so terrible, it’s hard to discern what anyone could possibly like about it. It’s the difference between disliking a mushroom pizza because you personally don’t like mushrooms and disliking a mushroom pizza because the dough is raw and there are cockroaches crawling on it.
A Simple Favor, the latest twisty thriller about a person who goes missing under dubious circumstances, is a raw cockroach pizza. All the ingredients seem awesome—a pulpy thriller plot, director Paul Feig, and a game cast—but every single element of the film is so poorly executed, that the films ends up an infuriating mess.
What goes wrong? The plot is so derivative of another recent hit thriller that the novelist who wrote the adapted book should be taken to court for plagiarism, Blake Likely is laughably bad in an admittedly demanding role, and the dialogue and characters are so one-dimensional and unconvincing, it’s hard to believe that Fieg of Freaks and Geeks, Bridesmaids, and Spy is behind the camera. I can’t think of a more disappointingly bad movie in recent memory.
Stars: 1 out of 5
How does it compare to other recent missing-person thrillers?
Worse than: Gone Girl
Also worse than: Searching
A Simple Favor was not simple. It was pretty much anything but, however, this is not a compliment.
The movie starts off interesting, and I had high hopes. Anna Kendrick is charming as Stephanie, a single mother who has a video blog (vlog) to give mommy tips, and Blake Lively is mysterious (if not a little gimmicky) as Emily, a fellow mom who befriends Stephanie. At first, I was most captivated by Kendrick; her Stephanie seemed well-developed and interesting, funny and charming like Kendrick usually is. But as the movie progresses and Emily disappears, leading into a search for her whereabouts, Stephanie's character gets more and more muddled (as does the plot).
The movie gets lazy and confused as the plot thickens. The way the plot goes and the end result didn't bother me as much as it bothered Bob, but I was supremely disappointed in the deterioration of Kendrick's character. In school, creative writing teachers tell you that your characters should change; they should not be the same at the end of a story as they were at the beginning. At the end of A Simple Favor, Stephanie certainly is different, but it makes no sense as to how she got there.
Stars: 1 out of 5
Watch Instead: The Town. Blake Lively's in that too!