Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively
In his first feature since the Ghostbusters reboot, Paul Feig mixes Hitchcock and Vogue like a master mixologist. Energetic single mom Stephanie Smothers (Anna Kendrick) finds an unlikely friend in Emily Nelson (Blake Lively), a mean girl who got meaner and less scrupulous with age. When Emily mysteriously disappears, Stephanie insinuates herself into the investigation, as well as Emily’s incredible home and family (Henry Golding of Crazy Rich Asians stars as Emily’s hubby, the brilliant writer).
The film seemed to be marketed as something more akin to Single White Female than the blackly comic “Desperate Housewives”/Gone Girl mashup it engagingly is. Lively would have mesmerized Hitch himself as one of his chilly blonde muses. Kendrick uses her sweetness as an advantage to disarm and fuel what-if scenarios as clue after clue is revealed. Ultimately, A Simple Favor teases mysterious complexity when its solution may be simpler than its favor.