If a drama mixed with a comedy is called a dramady, what do we call a thriller mixed with a comedy? A thrilledy? I am not sure, but that is what you get with Paul Feig’s latest film A Simple Favor. Now the movie aficionados out there may be wondering, “Wouldn’t the jokes ruin the slow burn tension of a thriller, and wouldn’t the slow pacing of a thriller take the punch out of a comedy?” The answer to those questions respectively is, kinda and thankfully no.
A Simple Favor is about a single stay at home suburban mother named Stephanie Smothers (Anna Kendrick) who has a poorly trafficked Vlog. Her life gets way more interesting when she is asked to come over for a drink by the fabulous and exquisite Emily Nelson (Blake Lively) who runs PR for a large New York fashion company and is married to a famous author (Henry Golding). Emily is everything Stephanie wishes she could be, but things go sideways when Emily asks Stephanie for a simple favor.
The movie has some problems if it is viewed as a pure thriller. The pacing is off, the twists are too telegraphed, and the stakes never feel that high, but Kendrick and Lively are immensely watchable. Their on screen chemistry is fantastic. While the jokes are not coming out a mile a minute, they almost all land, and since they are not coming out rapid fire, you get to savor them a bit. I was quite impressed with how well it all worked, and the level of talent on display.
Paul Feig knows how to direct a good comedy, and for A Simple Favor he got play with the tropes and toys that come with a thriller as well. It was a fun mashup. With lesser actors and a less deft director it could have been a snooze, but I was quite enthralled for most of the movie’s 117 minutes. You don’t get many thriller-comedies, and almost no good ones, so A Simple Favor is a unique movie going experience. For some it may not be worth a trip to the theater, but definitely check it out when it hits your streaming service or DVD kiosk of choice.