A Simple Favor

I’m real hit-and-miss with director Paul Feig’s work. Bridesmaids was okay, albeit overrated. His remake of Ghostbusters was awful. The Heat (Sandra Bullock/Melissa McCarthy) was disappointing, despite everyone loving it (I admit, it had a few funny scenes). I did think Spy (Melissa McCarthy, Jason Statham) was funny. This is the first film he’s done without McCarthy, and the most serious picture he’s tackled. It’s based on the Darcey Bell novel, and it’s his attempt to do Gone Girl. I hope it’s his last attempt at combining genres. It wanted to be a dark comedy, a noir thriller, with lots of twists.

There were about a thousand things wrong with this movie. I’ll just mention a handful in this review.

I often have a problem with Anna Kendrick in movies because she looks like a 15-year-old. That works for her Pitch Perfect films, but when she’s playing a mom, it’s not convincing. It’s also not convincing how nervous and dorky she is around her impeccably dressed new bestie (played by Blake Lively). Volunteering at the school, her acting is over-the-top with perkiness.

When the two moms meet for drinks the first time while their children have a play date, Emily (Lively) is so mean, you don’t know why Stephanie (Kendrick) would have anything to ever do with her again. When the following day she takes her picture, and Emily slaps her hand away and tells her to “Delete that f***ing picture or I’ll have an injunction on you so quick!” At that point, don’t you just say to yourself — this woman is psycho and I’m out of here. But they’re trying to show us that she’s so lonely, she’ll take this kind of abuse, and doesn’t hesitate to immediately call her a best friend.

Stephanie is a single mom, who is overly eager to volunteer at her kid’s school (which for some reason annoys the other parents and the teacher). She also runs a blog for mothers. It has cooking tips, craft ideas, and things like that. It made me think of what the girl in Eighth Grade would be doing as a clueless adult.

When Emily disappears, Stephanie tries figuring out what happened. Of course, instead of calling the police when suspicious stuff crops up, she goes into detective mode.

Oh, she’s also started sleeping with Emily’s husband (Crazy Rich Asians lead Henry Golding). There was no need for a “spoiler alert” there, as everyone saw that coming down Broadway.

One of my biggest gripes is that there’s not a single character in this that feels remotely realistic. There’s a cop that’s always showing up and asking questions, laughing all the while. There are characters that are one way, but act completely different depending on the circumstances (Stephanie being the main perpetrator of this).

I was telling my wife how this is the type of movie I can’t give any stars to. In most films, if there are enough scenes I liked or I was entertained most of the time, I can forgive a lot. Yet the 3rd act is so convoluted and stupid, it ruins everything. That doesn’t mean I didn’t chuckle at the scene where Stephanie shows up to confront a big-wig in the fashion world and the receptionist won’t talk to her and the designer mocks her outfit. But so what? One or two funny scenes doesn’t make up for two hours of garbage. And the crazy thing is…the screening audience loved it. Two women behind me said it was the best movie they’ve ever seen.

So, if you didn’t have a problem with how bad The Girl on the Train was, by all means go and enjoy this. If any critic tries to tell you it was good, you should stop paying attention to anything they say on film in the future.

0 stars, and it’s going to be on my 10 worst of the year list.