A Simple Favor Review: Paul Feig’s mostly successful detour from business as usual.
It’s refreshing at times to see a director take on a genre that they are generally not associated with. Often, they can bring new innovations to a genre and even takes aspects of their filmmaking to create a unique blend of genres. So could Paul Feig, director of Bridesmaids and Spy, take his comedy chops and use them to create an interesting noir-styled thriller? Whether or not it’s your kind of thriller, Feig definitely show that comedy isn’t his only strong suit.
A Simple Favor plays with its ideas and style perfectly as its two leads, Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively, really capture their character’s issues. Kendrick takes on an uptight single-mother role while Lively resembles more of a noir-styled femme fatale character and while the two are playing total opposites, they both put incredible confidence and energy into each scene. They both share great chemistry with one another as well as with Henry Golding, who is quickly becoming an actor to watch.
Thankfully everyone puts in a good performance as their characters are so incredibly dislikable that it’s very hard to want any of them to win. The film constantly goes over the despicable acts they’ve done, yet expects only one person to feel like the villain in the end. Characters that have a happy ending don’t necessarily feel deserving and it didn’t leave me feeling satisfied overall.
Feig mostly makes up with this through his visual style and blends comedy and thriller elements excellently. It easy to find A Simple Favor’s funny bone as the cast shares some solid dialogue with one another. Feig’s comedic approach really shines and gives audiences a break from the more dramatic and dark moments.
When audiences aren’t laughing, though, they are left to watch a thriller story that not only resembles other thrillers, but can feel convoluted and a little overbearing. It has some solid moments, but audiences will ultimately see it as another Gone Girl wannabe that has a little too many twists and turns. The twists do leave some surprises, but they can feel a little too thin and will leave audiences scratching their heads in confusion.
So even with a few bumps in A Simple Favor, Feig shows that he isn’t completely a “one-trick pony.” His blending of comedy and thriller elements works perfectly with the female leads and their chemistry is excellent. If Feig can just fix the story and character hiccups the film had, he could eventually be seen as more than just a great comedy director.