A Simple Favor


A Simple Favor  1/2

From the dapper way director Paul Feig dresses, and the snappy banter that features in his comedies, one gets the sense that he spends a lot of time perched in front of Turner Classic Movies, which might also explain his affinity for Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Diabolique, the 1955 crime drama that Feig name-checks during his first foray into the genre. And in case you miss the reference, he also peppers his tonally schizophrenic film’s soundtrack with French-language pop tunes to punctuate the type of picture he’s failed miserably to recreate. If you’ve seen David Fincher’s Gone Girl, you’ve seen this type of trashy neo-noir made far more skillfully by someone who knows how to stage and even light a scene. Based on the novel by Darcey Bell, A Simple Favor stars Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect) as Stephanie Smothers, a widowed mommy vlogger who willfully overlooks the fact that her new “best friend,” mean girl-turned-mom Emily Nelson (Gossip Girl’s Blake Lively) is basically using her as an unpaid nanny. Still, Stephanie, a helicopter mom, is thrilled to be sharing daytime martinis with a beautiful career woman who’s much more at home at her Manhattan PR firm than she is when posing as a Connecticut wife and mother. As such, she’ll disappear for days at a time, typically leaving her young son with her dashing, subservient husband, novelist Sean Townsend (Crazy Rich Asians’ Henry Golding). Only now, she seems to have disappeared for good, setting up a mystery that astute viewers will solve well before Feig’s tedious film does. (At Assembly RowBoston CommonSeaportSouth Bay  and in the suburbs.)

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