Opening November 8, 2018
Directed by: Paul Feig
Writing credits: Jessica Sharzer, Darcey Bell
Principal actors: Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, Henry Golding, Rupert Friend, Andrew Rannells
Stephanie (Anna Kendrick) is the type of super-mom other moms begrudge, considering it takes super-energy to keep up with her. Her terrific vlog: “Hi Moms, Stephanie here,” is how followers learn Stephanie’s best friend is missing. The two are as different as night and day: one works in the city and wears designer stilettos, while stay-at-home mom wears $10.00 socks from a discount chain. But, their sons are classmates, so when Emily (Blake Lively) asks a simple favor Stephanie purrs affirmatively, since Miles (Joshua Satine) likes play dates with Nicky (Ian Ho). When the obligatory few hours stretch to days, Stephanie uncomfortably realizes how little she knows about her enigmatic friend. Then Nicky’s dad (Henry Golding) returns from abroad; the Good Samaritan convinces him to call the police, and in due course a detective (Chris Owens) turns up. Each new incident indicates there is more than meets the eye, and Stephanie is trying hard to keep up.
Mystery thrillers are not usually described as being lustig, but then director Paul Feig is working from Jessica Sharzer’s screenplay based on Darcey Bell’s 2017 same-titled debut novel. The cast is terrific; Allison Jones’ casting deserves credit. John Schwartzman’s cinematography picks out clues, as well as highlighting the personalities involved. Augmenting this is Jefferson Sage’s production design, Brent White’s editing, and Theodore Shapiro’s music. Countless bizarrely weird twists exist; sometimes they drag audiences into dodgy, dark places as the characters delve deeper into the inexplicable. Naughty, mischievous humor is sprinkled throughout as well. Wondering whodunit? Can you keep a secret? So you should, and so can I. For maximum enjoyment relishing its full effect, see A Simple Favor. 118 minutes (Marinell H.)