Movie Review – A Simple Favor

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A Simple Favor – A strange hybrid of different genres that I really liked, but didn’t love. Now don’t get me wrong, this movie has a lot going for it: style in spades, humorous moments, an intelligent twisty screenplay and a quality performance by Blake Lively as a conniving, cosmopolitan b!tch. The primary issue? Just not a fan at all of actress Anna Kendrick. Let’s face it, outside of an adequate performance in 2009’s “Up In The Air” alongside George Clooney, she’s really not a very good actor. She’s been typecast as this perky nerd who comes across as naive when in fact she’s really smarter than she’s letting on. Kendrick is supporting actress or ensemble material; not the stuff of lead actress quality. And unfortunately, she’s more grating and annoying than ever in this feature, which is a shame as this movie has a lot going for it. Of course, if you like Kendrick, you may love this movie. She plays Stephanie Smothers, a single, widowed mom who is that school mother that the community loves to hate. One day, her son befriends another boy and they ask to have a play date together. When this boy’s mother Emily Nelson (Lively) shows up, she reluctantly agrees to have Stephanie and her son come over to her house. Stephanie is enamored with the wealthy, vogue lifestyle Emily is living as a Director of Public Relations at a high profile fashion firm, but soon learns that Emily and her husband Sean are having financial difficulties and everything is not as it seems. When Emily gets caught at work, she asks Stephanie to watch her son, but then never shows to pick him up. Days pass and Stephanie reaches out to Sean and people at the fashion firm trying to figure out what’s going on with the disappearance. Let’s just say things get a lot more convoluted from there. A Simple Favor is a mix of black comedy, Hitchcock suspense thriller, society drama and con artist feature which has some very clever moments but also some cliche moments along the way. Most plot points work, but some don’t. In the end though, it is eminently watchable, but that may be tempered by how you feel about the two lead actresses who take up just about all of the screen time.

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