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A Simple Favor 2018 ***

Paul Feig’s neat thriller did will enough to find an audience; as a comedy director best known for Bridesmaids, it was quite a feat of advertising to explain that despite the presence of Anna Kendrick as a lead, this was not a rom-com, a comedy or a musical, although Feig works a few good laughs into the mix. Kendrick plays the provocatively dowdy Stephanie who gets into a dangerous relationship with Emily (Blake Lively), a go-getting, booze-loving mother who uses her play-dates for martini’s and gossiping. When Emily goes missing, the stage is set of a Gone Girl slice of mystery, but even though the conclusion is fairly silly, A Simple Favour digs deeply enough into the characters to avoid going over the top. An open-ending that seems to promise a franchise feels like a sop to the studio; A Simple Favour is a satisfying one-off that gains traction from Kendrick expanding her range as a not-so-innocent girl and Lively living up to her name as a character with plenty to hide.

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