What do you get when you mix a naïve husband, a narcissistic untrustworthy wife and a bumbling yet deceitful friend? A mediocre, overly-twisted yet somewhat predictable ‘thriller-comedy’ that tries to juggle one too many balls and doesn’t quite catch them all.

A Simple Favor stars Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively and Henry Golding, and is based on the book of the same title written by Darcey Bell. The film follows Stephanie played by Anna Kendrick, a widow who runs an online vlog where she makes recipe videos and gives out ‘Mum Tips’. Blake Lively plays Emily, a stylish, seductive yet narcissistic character who works in high-end fashion and becomes friends with Stephanie when their sons beg for a playdate together. While at Emily’s house for the playdate, Stephanie is introduced to Emily’s husband Sean who wrote an incredible book 10 years ago and has struggled to live up to his own acclaim ever since. The relationship between him and Emily is passionate but seems to be fueled as much by her dislike for him as it is his love for her. Not long into the movie (and as seen in the trailer) Emily goes missing leaving Stephanie and Sean reeling as they try to figure out where she has gone and why. From here things get remarkably messy and yet remain somewhat predictable at the same time.

From the first shocking character development, it becomes clear that there is more to these characters than what we as an audience are being let in on; there is clearly something darker inside them, but we’re never told what it is. Without spoiling anything for those excited to watch the film, there are some major developments for all three characters in the middle act of the film, however by the time the credits are rolling only one of the characters was explored thoroughly, with the other two storylines being left unfinished and unresolved. The ending was also underwhelming as it felt like the high tensions of the film were building up to a dramatic resolution, however, it’s much more a fizzle than a bang.

The start of the film was a really good introduction to some interesting (if not slightly disturbed) characters but the longer the film goes on the more you start to dislike them. They’re untrustworthy and continue to lie even once the audience has seen the truth. You’re never really sure who to believe which can be a good, intriguing post-cinema conversation starter but there appears to be no answers and an extra fifteen minutes could have been added to the film to tie up a few of those loose ends or delve deeper into the hidden darkness of the other two lead characters.

A Simple Favor was funnier than expected with Anna Kendrick working her usual charm, however the film’s attempt to ride a fine line between thriller and comedy never quite seemed to pay off as the resolution of the story was neither funny nor incredibly tense.  

A Simple Favor is just that: simple. It tries its best to twist in on itself but what we’re left with is a story that a lot of the audience will piece together earlier than they’re meant to and an ending that doesn’t live up to its own tension.

Score: 2.5/5

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