A Simple Favor
Two moms establish an unequal friendship—and then the lady vanishes.
The new Blake Lively–Anna Kendrick comedy thriller is “as bright and bracing as an ice-cold gin martini,” said Katie Walsh in the Chicago Tribune. Lively provides a “deliciously naughty” turn as Emily, a stylish and enigmatic suburban mother who lures an insecure day care–parent peer into an unlikely and unequal friendship before suddenly vanishing. Kendrick’s Stephanie soon uses her mommy vlog to widen the search, and she turns out to be “the ultimate uber-organized Nosy Nellie—perfect for the job.” The story never gets as cruel or twisted as it should, said Manohla Dargis in The New York Times. But because the stars are granted enough room to create “a prickly intimacy” for their characters, you’re eager to stay with Stephanie and Emily even as the story’s feints multiply and A Simple Favor “starts stalling out.” With Henry Golding on hand to complete the “knockout” cast of headliners, it barely matters that this film “never quite sticks its landing,” said Maureen Lee Lenker in Entertainment Weekly. It’s still “a taut, absorbing, divinely chic ride, a tantalizing morsel with the unrealized promise of a more satisfying meal.”