A SIMPLE FAVOUR (M)
WANTING MORE AND GIVING LESS DIRECTOR: PAUL FEIG (BRIDESMAIDS)
STARRING: ANNA KENDRICK, BLAKE LIVELY, HENRY GOLDING, LINDA CARDELLINI, JEAN SMART, RUPERT FRIEND RATING:
There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with a movie that bites off more than it can chew. Ambition is a good thing, right?
Well, not always. Ambition can be the wrong thing if you’re not crystal clear about what you are trying to be.
So it goes for A Simple Favour, a slo-mo trainwreck of a movie that is never entirely sure if it’s a Gone Girl- ish missing-person mystery, a bruising black comedy about a domestic goddess and her demonic opposite, or a gawk-fest of fancy clothes, pricey real estate and shiny appliances.
Director Paul Feig ( Bridesmaids) goes hard in all three departments, but the movie never solidifies into anything entertaining for very long.
All that remains by the end is a softheaded, sour-hearted farce where you can sense even the cast and crew wish the whole thing was over already.
Anna Kendrick stars as Stephanie, a lowlevel lifestyle video blogger who gets a taste for the high life when she befriends Blake Lively’s Emily, a bitter-and-twisted PR exec.
In its early stretches, A Simple Favour appears to be on to something good as it plays up both the blatant and subtle differences between its two protagonists.
Each are loners in their own particular ways, solitary creatures who have checked out or have been pushed out of polite suburban society because of problematic pasts.
Emily openly confesses there isn’t a drink, a drug or a dodgy vice she has ever said no to. Stephanie responds by sharing a secret that puts the tragic car accident that killed her husband in a whole new light.
Then Emily vanishes into thin air, leaving Stephanie looking for answers to some very disturbing questions.
It is at this point, the movie goes from promising just enough to delivering all too little.
The mismatched pairing of Lively (stuck with a poorly written character that doesn’t make any sense) and Kendrick (whose character’s swings in mood and motivation are also hard to fathom) is only the tip of a large iceberg of problems here.
Uneven humour, gaping plot holes and some nasty twists will grate on the nerves if you look or listen too closely.
ANNA KENDRICK AND BLAKE LIVELY STAR IN A SIMPLE FAVOUR, A MOVIE WHICH GOES FROM PROMISING JUST ENOUGH TO DELIVERING ALL TOO LITTLE.