Striking a strange balance between clever comedy and tense suspense thriller, A Simple Favor manages to find a unique space that will be an instant classic to those who can appreciate it. It’s rare for a film to blend two opposing genres so beautifully, making it especially surprising to see director Paul Feig accomplish this, even if he can’t be said to have done so effortlessly.
Deciding which is the bigger star of the movie between the writing and acting is a challenge. A Simple Favor regularly hits a comedic moment right before dancing into the dark undercurrents of creepy character development or captivating narrative weaving. If director Paul Feig had pushed the movie a little more in either direction you’d have a decent suspense or a reasonably entertaining comedy, but it wouldn’t be quite as special.
Paul Feig does more than just hit the right tone between tension and laughs. He puts subtle touches into the humorous frames that leave you vaguely unsettled and he captures the tense moments with a sense of disorientation that drives the plot forward. That’s not to say that his direction is perfect. Though he has dramatically improved from his last major work, Ghostbusters 2016 (It has a real subtitle, but it’s not worth learning or looking up because this is how people know it), he shows some consistency in his flaws.
I can’t say that it 100% works when Feig contrasts upbeat music with thriller style imagery or setup. This is emblematic of what appears to be a larger systemic issue. I don’t think that it’s so much of a failure to deliver a consistent emotion when it’s needed. The problem is that these scenes need silence and space to sink in and Feig appears to struggle with delivering that. You can see it in a few places where the scene needs a moment of silence or a little peace to give the audience a moment to unravel the information for themselves.
When Paul Feig learns to really let a moment exist and give every scene the sense of weight it deserves, I believe he’ll be capable of making something beyond incredibe.
Moving on, it is important to give credit to Anna Kendrick who rocks her role as Stephanie Smothers. She brings a nice creepiness to a cheery character, and though it wasn’t as darkly serious of a role as I’d like to see Kendrick do, the role was excellent for showing off her range as an actress. Blake Lively kills playing opposite to Kendrick. The only weakness is with the child acting, which comes off as wooden and stiff. Fortunately, the editing minimizes the effect on the film in addition to the strength of the leads keeping everything together.
Overall, A Simple Favor is a fantastic ride and I was on the edge of my seat for every minute of it. This one will find an audience that will remember it for their whole life for the charming balance it creates while delivering a tight and entertaining narrative. Be sure to catch this one.
|Final Verdict:||A tight balance between comedy and suspense that will leave you on the edge of your seat.|