A Simple Favor 小心幫忙 (2018) - USA
Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia)
Fresh from the “Crazy Rich Asians” fame, Henry Golding gets to up the love game with not just one Hollywood A-list in the stunning Blake Lively, but also the always lovely Anna Kendrick. The result is a film that works extremely well in the captivating form of an older and classy Woody Allen style, while having the intriguing nature of “Gone Girl”. The acting are easily top notched, as is the pacing and despite the highly risky nature of the plot line, where one single bad move can easily spoil the fun, “A Simple Flavor” succeeds in not just being entertaining, but fresh and even smart.
Blake Lively headlines the film as the mysterious and manipulative friend and wife. Lively excels in a role that requires her to be upbeat and always on top of the game. This contrasts with the adorable Anna Kendrick, who is both trusting and caring. The duo share a great chemistry similar to those 90s “Cruel Intentions” style, despite the tenses happenings and nature of the film, it’s intentionally light hearted much in the style of Woody Allen’s genre defining comedies. Henry Golding shines in only his second major film role as the husband and lover. Golding more than hold his own against the two more experienced counterparts.
All in all, “A Simple Favor” is the kind of film where it is so easily go down the “as per usual” trend, but director Paul Feig paces the film well and created a backstory that is both light hearted and filled with offbeat humour and fun. As audiences, there is an expectations that these kind of films position themselves as being smart and there is a fine line where one wrong move or scene can destroy the whole film. The result is a highly entertaining and passionate affair with good performances within a 90s Woody Allen playback with the “Gone Girl” tension buried within.
I rated it 8/10