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film review

Anna Kendrick, left, and Blake Lively star in Paul Feig's A Simple Favor.peter iovino/Courtesy of eOne

  • A Simple Favor
  • Directed by Paul Feig
  • Written by Jessica Sharzer
  • Starring Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively
  • Classification 14A; 117 minutes

Rating:

3 out of 4 stars

Director Paul Feig is best known for such female-fronted comedies as Bridesmaids and Spy (and for his collaborations with Judd Apatow, such as television’s forever-mourned Freaks and Geeks). So when the trailer for Feig’s new movie, A Simple Favor, was released earlier this spring promising a Gone Girl-style thriller, dedicated Feig-heads (guilty!) were perplexed. Would this be the director’s new approach, perhaps after having been burned by trolls for his (legitimately underappreciated) Ghostbusters reboot? Yes, and no. Although A Simple Favor contains definite trappings of an airport page-turner – two young mothers (Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively) become fast friends before one of them disappears from the face of the Earth – its mystery elements are infused with a uniquely Feig-ian sensibility, equal parts broad comedy and ironic winks. The genre-meld shouldn’t work as well as it does, but Feig wrangles all the disparate elements under his control – well, save for the final 10 minutes, during which the plot goes off the rails even though it was never on tracks to begin with. And Kendrick, who is so often miscast or simply misused, will stick around in your mind long enough to erase any narrative missteps.

A Simple Favor opens across Canada on Sept. 14