A Simple Favour is a thriller-comedy that had the potential for success but misses the mark because of its confused and chaotic plot.
A Simple Favour centres around Stephanie Smothers (Anna Kendrick), an awkward single mother who has her own online video blog. Stephanie befriends a mother from her son’s school, Emily Nelson (Blake Lively), a mysterious woman who keeps to herself. They develop an unusual ‘friendship’, but when Emily suddenly goes missing, Stephanie starts to realise that she doesn’t actually know much about her ‘friend’.
The film was directed by Paul Feig, known for his success with comedies such as Bridesmaids and The Heat. This is maybe why there is a confusion of genres. There are many moments during the film where comedy seems to be at the forefront. However, this comedy becomes confused with the intense plot, leaving the audience not knowing whether to laugh or not.
Lively and Kendrick’s characters brought a fun and dynamic relationship to the screen. Although Kendrick seems to be falling into a trap of playing similar characters in her films, with Stephanie Smothers being an awkward, ‘tries to be funny’ person, similar to her characters in Pitch Perfect and 50/50. But as they say “stick to what you’re good at”, and she, as always, played this type of character perfectly. Lively’s character was very dramatic and unrealistic, however this played into the film’s comedic side, Lively pulling it off flawlessly.
The plot is chaotic at points, with many twists being predictable. If Jessica Sharzer, the writer who developed the screenplay, had committed to either a thriller or a comedy, than the film could have been more enjoyable and more successful.