Doncha hate it when your secretive, hard-drinking best friend leaves her kid with you and then drops off the face of the Earth? It happens to all of us at some point, but never as fashionably or as funny as in A Simple Favor.
Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick are the besties with young kids, Blake playing the successful PR exec Emily and Anna as Stephanie, the single mom/Super Mom who runs a vlog. Both are great because they are believable. Without giving too much away, Anna’s public persona of Miss Nice Gal makes it easy for the audience to buy in without thinking about it. Blake certainly not as off the rails as her character becomes (though she did once launch a paper wad at me after an interview), but the well dressed, put together Emily suits her image.
In high school, the words simple and chemistry do not go together. But in this film, they are natural companions. Emily and Stephanie make their unlikely friendship seem uncommonly natural. Of course, one of them has an agenda, but we learn early on that they both have secrets.
But here’s where great and clever scripting comes in. The writers try to direct you to look one way, while they go the other way. If you’re too smart to fall for that, you still don’t have it figured out. There are so many twists and turns in this film that it keeps you off your guard.
Yet for all their faults (and crimes!) you still find yourself liking both characters and kinda-sorta rooting for the ‘bad girl.’ That’s not easy to do, and big ups to the writers, director Paul Feig, and the ladies for pulling it off.
This movie is definitely worth a watch, but it’s not a cinematic experience. If you can’t catch it in theaters, you’ll get the same effect watching it at home.
The Critic’s Cocktail Recommendation
Emily’s go-to drink/reset button is a Dry Gin Cocktail. Coat the glass in vermouth then pour it out. Lots of Aviator Gin, no ice, served in frozen glasses. For the lemon get a large pice of zest and squeeze it inside out.
Fun fact: Aviator Gin is owned by Ryan Reynolds, who happens to be Blake Lively’s husband. The fact that that is the gin used in the film is pure coincidence, we’re sure!