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Simple Favour, A


Stars: Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, Henry Golding, Andrew Rannells, Ian Ho, Joshua Satine, Jean Smart, Linda Cardellini

Director: Paul Feig

The story here is intriguing and I wanted to like the film more than I did. But the plot of this convoluted thriller is just too fancy, with too many mood swings, for its own good.

We get fed up with, rather than fascinated by the constant changes of direction, as food vlogger Stephanie (Kendrick), a widow whose husband and stepbrother were killed in the same car crash, instigates a hunt for her missing friend Emily (Lively), who has vanished on a business trip to Florida.

The friendship, which had begun when Emily had asked Stephanie to pick up her young son (Satine), is edgy to say the least. Emily tells Stephanie that 'You don't want to be friends with me, Trust me' and refuses to have her picture taken (never clear why this is).

They do, however, have a drunken 'secrets sharing' session (aren't those just so annoying) in which Steph confesses to having had sex with her stepbrother. Then Emily, whose real name may be Claudia, is found drowned, Stephanie starts an affair with Emily's husband (Gooding) and waters grow ever murkier as the film grows ever less likely.

Kendrick is irritating, Lively abrasive and Gooding (previously the star of Crazy Rich Asians) simply not very good. Cameos en route are merely window-dressing to the plot. Keep it simple, guys: this is far too complex and its characters' motives (and involvement) are never really clear.

David Quinlan

USA 2018. UK Distributor: LionsGate. Colour by Company 3 (print by Technicolor).
118 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 2, Swearing 3.

Review date: 17 Sep 2018