Can You Keep A Secret
Director: Paul Feig
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, Henry Golding
Genre: Black Comedy/Drama
Stay at home single mother Stephanie (Kendrick) is slowly recovering from the death of her husband and half-brother in a car accident by throwing herself into helping out at her son’s school, running a vlog and being an overall busy-body, this, however, doesn’t leave much time for developing friendships, that is until she befriends the workaholic PR director and fellow mom Emily (Lively).
As her only friend Stephanie is all to willing to help when Emily asks her a simple favour to look after her son until she is finished at work and even more willing to help when Emily goes missing, taking it upon herself to find out just what happened to her only friend, leading her down a twisting road of lust, deceit and murder.
Female lead comedies are something that Paul Feig does well, his back catalogue is made up of such hits as Bridesmaids, Spy or The Heat, with only the commercial failure of Ghostbusters, which although solid was a miss-step with the fans and slightly dented his reputation. So it was all the more important that his next film put him back on track.
So that brings us to A Simple Favour, which was billed as a black comedy and although it certainly has shades of that, it also contains shades of mystery and even a touch of the erotic thriller. This I feel is where the film mainly falls down, you go from watching a comedic scene about being unable to get out of a dress to a scene depicting someone being drowned in a lake, then back to another scene where the audience is expected to find funny, it’s almost as if there are two separate films crashing against each other.
Another of the main issues that the film faces is that you find it difficult to see Kendrick in anything other than a wholesome no matter how solid a performance she puts in, making it difficult to see her character as anything less than wholesome also, throwing you a little bit when she does something that a nice person wouldn’t.
Another one of the film problems is the entirely pointless back story involving her half-brother which brings nothing much to the film and only serves to produce some one-liner jokes, same with the group of other parents that felt like filler and brought nothing to the film.
Now I’m not saying that A Simple Favour is a bad film, any scene with Lively and Kendrick is a joy to watch as the chemistry between the two is strong, whilst the rest of the cast really commit to their roles, even some of the more cheesy lines, not only this there are plenty of laughs throughout, so as a comedy the film does its job.
Overall A Simple Favour is a mess of different genres that you will, for the most part, find enjoyable as long as you don’t think too hard about any of the twists and turns that the film throws at you, sadly for Feig it probably wasn’t the comeback that he was hoping for.