|Screenplay By||Jessica Sharzer|
|Genre(s)||Mystery, Comedy, Drama|
|Good If You Like||Vulgar Mothers Cursing Around Their Kids And Having R Rated Conversations Over Drinks|
Mysteries Which Only Have One Answer, But So Many Ways To Get To What Seems Obvious.
|Dennis Nylon||Rupert Friend|
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It took about 10 to 14 years, but Emily really did make something of herself. She figured out a way to leave college with little to no debt and had quite the fun time. You know, experimented with women, became a muse of sorts, until she decided to go corporate as a bit of a fixer for Dennis Nylon – the person and company. Which she flourished in because she took the grit of her family, which has a very no-nonsense, and it led her to become head of PR. A job which consumed so much of her time that it made her ten-year marriage a bit of an afterthought.
However, while her marriage to Sean, a once potentially great writer, went to hell, she did have Nicky, her son. Someone who she absolutely adored but talked to like she did her boss Dennis – with little to no filter. Curse words and all. Which is quite different from how Stephanie was raising her son Miles.
Now, what would bring someone like Stephanie, a full-time stay at home mom, living off insurance money, and a mommy vlogger, with a high-powered NYC PR head? Loneliness. For everyone knew of Stephanie’s mommy vlog, and found her a pain in the ass since she volunteered to do anything and everything. Which perhaps made her the best one, out of everyone in that town, to connect with Emily. They were total opposites and Emily found Stephanie, the gluten-free, mom, amusing.
Yet, with time, as their kids grew close, so did they. Secrets were shared, some which raise a red flag, in terms of what Stephanie reveals, and other secrets and found through some good ole detective work. But to reveal what was found would be more spoilers than required.
Lively & Kendrick Make Quite A Pair
The first half of the movie, before Emily’s disappearance, is pretty much a comedy. Lively, as Emily, gives her husband, Ryan Reynolds, a run for his money in terms of being unapologetically vulgar and finding every curse word, innuendo, or bit of intimacy, delicious. Especially when it comes to her well-trained son, Nicky, who seemingly has adapted to him mom cursing around and at him. He even learned the proper way to curse someone out, the little scamp.
But, it isn’t all fun and games. At first, what will make you fall for Lively is that Emily’s approach to life and business makes you want to be like her. She is fun, uninhibited in a way, and her confidence, or just her not having the hang-ups a lot of women have about needing to apologize and all that, it’s alluring. You almost want to take note of what she says to better your life.
All the while, as Emily cracks jokes and says stuff which makes you feel like this character is seducing you, we have Kendrick as Stephanie. She kind of places the straight woman to the wild Emily and it’s downright hilarious. Especially her reaction to a giant nude painting of Emily, full bush, that is in the living room. Where even little Nicky can see.
Yet, don’t think Stephanie is a bore. She holds some secrets. Not on the level of Emily, whose secrets have secrets, and twists have twists, going back 14 years, but Stephanie definitely isn’t the saint she comes off as. In fact, one of her secrets get her a special nickname and will make you look at Stephanie with a slight grimace.
On The Fence
It Overstays It’s Welcome
The main issue with this film is that how it handles solving the mystery of what happened to Emily is very hit and miss. Mostly because it goes into so much detail, then tries to recapture the magic of the first half of the movie, and then ends in such a way you’ve seen too many times before. Someone getting hit by a car just before they plan to kill someone. It’s like, after spending nearly an hour building up all these people, knowing you hooked the audience, the question becomes: Now what?
Do I overdo what happened to Emily, go into far more detail than necessary about her past? Can I recapture that magic from the first half of the movie? It seems like all of these thoughts are in motion and it makes it so the magic begins to fade a bit. Leaving Kendrick and Lively losing that brilliance you saw in them and almost feeling like, if this movie was given another 10 – 20 minutes, it would come off like something you’d see on Lifetime.
Who Really Cares About Sean?
Henry Golding becomes a bit of an afterthought with this movie. Yes, he is the husband who lost his wife, and did a lot of foolish, perhaps unforgivable, things after, but Golding gives us no real personality. Similar to his role in Crazy Rich Asians, the best thing you can say about him is that he is attractive. Outside of that, like many a woman or child exist, especially in the past, just because they are a needed accessory for the story and characters who matter, this is the fate of Sean and Golding.
If you watch mysteries, you’ll notice most of them end not too long after the big reveal, and for good reason. For, as A Simple Favor shows, trying to milk the reveal and what made you fall for the movie in the first place, it’ll ruin the high of the reveal/ big twist. Making it seem that the writer didn’t know how to end after that so they kept rambling on until even they realized they were starting to ruin something quite entertaining.
Yet, despite overstaying its welcome a bit, I would say A Simple Favor is worth seeing. It feels like a nice shake up for more recent fans of Lively and as for Kendrick? While we don’t see nothing new from her, Lively does seem like someone she should definitely work with again. For, even when you want to check your phone, to see how much time is left, their chemistry and banter will keep you going until the ridiculous end.