Sometimes, you look forward to feasting on a five-course dinner, but there are times when you’re just as happy with a bowl of cereal. That is how I sum up A Simple Favor. Whenever Anna Kendrick is the star of a film, I know that film will be as much fun as a bag full of jellybeans or a bowl of Fruit Loops.
Stephanie Smothers (Anna Kendrick) is a widowed mother who not only volunteers for every school project her young son, Miles (Joshua Satine) is involved in, but she also runs a vlog that features, parenting tips, crafts and baking ideas. The vlog has only a few followers, but that will change dramatically. Although Stephanie kind of pisses off the other parents with her overachieving…deep down, they do like her. The father of one of her son’s classmates, Darren (Andrew Rannells) secretly follows her vlog.
Stephanie, through her son, agrees to a playdate and becomes close friends with Emily (Blake Lively) and her son Nicky (Ian Ho). Emily Nelson is the Public Relations director of a fashion company, and although she dresses to the nines, and lives in a huge house…she and her author husband, Sean (Henry Golding), stand on the precipice of financial ruin.
Stephanie truly likes Emily, even when she suspects that Emily is toying with her. Although Emily is constantly putting down Sean, we can see that Sean is a devoted husband and father…but no saint as we learn later in the film. One day over drinks, Stephanie reveals a troubling secret to Emily, which may explain why her husband purposely crashed his car into a highway embankment with her half brother inside.
One day, Emily asks Stephanie to pick up her Nicky after school because Sean is in London visiting his sickly mother. When Emily goes missing, the police become involved, and Stephanie has her vlog followers help her track down Emily. In doing so, Emily learns that there is more to Emily than she ever suspected.
A Simple Favor is a dark thriller within a comedy. With the help of her vlog followers, Stephanie is able to track down, Emily’s mother (Jean Smart), and what she discovers has her doubting her friendship with Emily, and her relationship with Sean.
Where Anna Kendrick plays her character as this sweet, perky, loveable but confused Pollyanna…Blake Lively’s character offsets the sugar with a cold and calculating saltiness. It is the perfect match that makes this film a delightful thriller with a surprise ending. I highly recommend watching A Simple Favor, because God only knows that the only way we can fight the sourness of the pandemic is with sugar, and lots of it.