A Simple Favor – I Laughed at Parts

Rating (3 out of 5)

Paul Feig’s humor meets crime novel sums up this movie.  Unfortunately this move  is all over the place.  While I laughed at parts I was also confused by the switch in tone from comedy to mystery.

Plot: A single mom Stephanie (Anna Kendrick), ostracized by the other parents at her son’s school, is befriended by a workaholic mom Emily (Blake Lively).  Emily asks Stephanie to watch her son one night and Emily goes missing.  Emily is later found dead, through leads on Stephanie’s Vlog.  Stephanie falls in love with Emily’s husband Sean (Henry Golding).  But there is more to Emily and her death than it appears.  Stephanie must figure it all out.

What I Liked: I really liked Blake Lively and thought she did a great job playing the psychotic friend/wife.  Stephanie is straight laced and Emily brings her out of her shell.  The part where Emily gets Stephanie to share a secret was well done.

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Stephanie has a vlog and shares parenting tips all the time.  She is scoffed and ridiculed by the other parents.  The vlog humor was built in later when one of the dad’s compliments Stephanie later on about her vlog.  He used a couple of the tricks, like quick brownies and some rash mixture.  The parents talking about Stephanie and Emily was well done.  It reminded me of Big Little Lies.

Stephanie has to become a detective to find out the true story of Emily.  She starts with a clue from a painting, then goes to Michigan and eventually finds her parents.  This part was paced very well, and kept my interest.

What I Didn’t Like:  The tone of the movie constantly switched between humor, crime and suspense.  The movie seemed to flip around between the types constantly.  If you are a suspense story be a suspense story, and use brief humor to relax everyone after a long set of crime.  The way this was arranged, you weren’t sure if this was suspense or humor.

SPOILERS COMING

Was not quite sure what motivated Emily and therefore was a little confused.  For example, she reveals herself to her son and eventually to Stephanie.  She is trying to collect the life insurance so why would she do that?  She said because she loved her son, but she couldn’t hold out a few months?

Was again confused about Emily killing her sister.  Really don’t know why it was necessary. They were past the years of being arrested for the arson.  They would have been sympathetic characters if it had been revealed now and she as a PR person would have known that.  Why did they have to keep running?

Then what led her to believe that then working the insurance angle was the best way to go.  It seemed to be a snap judgement and while a wild person, she wasn’t stupid.  She had to know the issues with her strategy.

After Emily’s death, Stephanie jumps in the sack with Emily’s husband almost immediately and then moves in with him.  That didn’t work for me.  Stephanie was made out to be prim and proper.

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Again, the final scene was somewhat inconsistent.  They are able to get Emily to confess, she runs into the street and is hit by a car driven by one of the dads.  When she was hit, it was humorous.  However, the scene didn’t fit well with the scene we had earlier which was the crime solving.  This was all capped off with a written summary at the end of what happened to all the characters.  This was more indicative a of comedy than a crime story.

Conclusion:  There were parts of this movie that I really enjoyed and laughed with others in the audience.  Had the tone been the same way through the entire movie, even when she was sleuthing, this would have been a great movie.

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