Stephanie is a single mum with cute cat socks and a vlog on baking and homemaking hacks. Emily is a PR director with sharp suits and penchant for strong martinis. As they’re brought together by their young sons’ play-date they form a fast, if slightly unbalanced, friendship. But when Emily suddenly goes missing, Stephanie finds herself entangled in a web of secrets, lies and dark pasts.
Better known for the broad laughs of Bridesmaids and Ghostbusters, Paul Feig directs this soapy suburban thriller with a thick seam of comedy, from a script by Jessica Sharzer (American Horror Story) adapted from Darcey Bell’s novel.
Anna Kendrick is perfectly cast as the nerdy and needy Stephanie, with her nervy enthusiasm and disarming charm making an engaging anchor for this twisty tale. Similarly, Blake Lively is effortlessly cool as the stylish and sweary Emily, who remains an elusive enigma right up to the finale.
Like its cast, A Simply Favour certainly looks and sounds the part; as glossy as a Vogue cover, with an airy Instagram filter and a chic French pop soundtrack. The film flirts with taboo sex, drugs and violence, but never gets any real dirt under its manicured fingernails. Likewise, it has some fun with playing on gender conventions, but never really explores or subverts them in any great depth. There’s a lot of shallow fun to be had here, but it can occasionally feel a little soulless.
The story canters at a pace to keep you keen through the many detours and deceptions, but the third act begins to wobble on its Louboutin heels, tripping over a wildly unravelling narrative before spiralling into a silly climax.
Nevertheless, it’s a light, easy-sipping cocktail, with a sharp lemon twist.
A Simple Favour is out now on DVD, Blu-Ray and VOD through Lionsgate.
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