Stephanie is a single mother with a parenting vlog who befriends Emily, a secretive upper-class woman who has a child at the same elementary school. When Emily goes missing, Stephanie takes it upon herself to investigate.
Circa 1969, several strangers, most with a secret to bury, meet by chance at Lake Tahoe's El Royale, a rundown hotel with a dark past. Over the course of one night, everyone will show their true colors - before everything goes to hell.
Five years after her husband and daughter are killed in a senseless act of violence, a woman comes back from self-imposed exile to seek revenge against those responsible and the system that let them go free.
John Gallagher Jr.,
Stephanie Smothers (Anna Kendrick) is a widowed single mother who runs a blog with crafts and recipes. Emily (Blake Lively) is a busy working mother, a PR director for a fashion company, whose son Nicky attends the same elementary school as Stephanie's son, Miles. Emily and Stephanie become fast friends, arranging play dates for the boys. They trade confessions, and Stephanie admits that as a teenager, she had sex with her half-brother, Chris. Emily expresses her frustration at the lack of success of her husband, English professor Sean Townsend, and their poor financial situation. Emily has a work crisis and asks Stephanie to babysit Nicky, as Sean is in London. After two days of Emily not responding to calls, Stephanie calls Emily's employer, Dennis Nylon, and he tells her she is in Miami. Stephanie calls Sean, who calls the police. Emily had told both Stephanie and Sean that she hates having her picture taken, leading Stephanie to sneak into Emily's work and find a photo, which she ...
Like Blake Lively's character in "A Simple Favor," Paul Feig is also from Michigan. According to a recent article, Feig grew up living next door to a family with eight children - six of them girls - and he was friends with all of them. See more »
The police discover after Emily goes missing that she rented a car from Budget paying with cash. Budget Rent-A-Car does not allow vehicle rentals without payment via credit or debit card, nor do any others in the US. Further, they require a valid driver's license as well, and thus would've already had a record of Emily's rental even if she didn't use a card to pay for it. See more »
Mambo #5 (A Little Bit of...)
Written by Dámaso Pérez Prado (as Perez Prado), Lou Bega (as David Lubega), and Zippy Davids (as Christian Pletschacher)
Performed by Lou Bega
Courtesy of Sony Music Entertainment Germany GmbH
By arrangement with Sony Music Entertainment See more »
A tonal mishmash. Imagine Gone Girl directed by Paul Feig, or better yet, don't.
First things first, A Simple Favour is not really a mystery film, well not a good one at least. As much as the marketing would have you believe, those looking for the next Gone Girl or The Girl on The Train will need to continue their search. The story here is far-fetched, overcooked and unravels in such a haste that it's hard to treat much of it seriously. Director Paul Feig (best known for his comedy works such as Bridesmaids and Spy), seemingly aware of the story's inherent ridiculousness, keeps the film light and easily digestible, but the result is a weird tonal hybrid of a comedy-mystery that fails at being either. Think Game Night, but more obnoxious than funny.
Based on the novel by Darcey Bell, A Simple Favour follows Stephanie (Anna Kendrick), a widowed, single mum who runs a mommy blog. Her goody two-shoes personality makes her pariah amongst the other parents. One day, on a playdate for their children, she befriends Emily (Blake Lively), a chic, elegant woman whose everything she is not. Before long they become best friends, and when Emily disappears, Stephanie steps out of her shell to solve the mystery.
Anna Kendrick stars in a role perfectly attuned to her goofy charms and Blake Lively convincingly embodies the enigmatic nature of her character in a crucial supporting role. Henry Golding, hot off Crazy Rich Asians, gets the rough end of the deal playing Emily's husband, a character who, while not entirely likeable, is cruelly used and manipulated by the two female protagonists throughout the film. It's disheartening to see that the film's message of female empowerment often comes as a result of emasculating its primary male character. In fact, the film's regressive approach to bolstering its two strong female leads does the film a great disservice.
The only consistency between all the characters is that none of them are particularly likeable. They each make questionable decisions, are gratingly self-centered and become increasingly obnoxious as the film progresses with its dubious twists. By the end, you'll be hard pressed to care about any of them. This is no more evident than in the film's tacked on "where are they now?' postscript that feels completely unnecessary and ill informed in assuming audiences care enough about the characters to know where they end up.
On the upside, Feig, who is more proficient in making fun films rather than serious ones, keeps the film feeling light and easy-going. He knowingly teases the audience with a stylish soundtrack filled with classy French music, and there are some funny scenes that incite light chuckles rather than any laugh out loud bursts of humour. These meager positives don't improve the stillborn narrative but at least they make it a little less painful to digest.
Ultimately, A Simple Favour is a strange blend of mystery and comedy that doesn't gel into a cohesive whole. As a piece of entertainment, it's entirely disposable. As a thriller, well, imagine Gone Girl as directed by Paul Feig. Or better yet, don't.
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