A SIM­PLE FAVOUR (M)

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Gold Coast Eye - - HORO­SCOPES - WITH LEIGH PAATSCH

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.

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