A Simple Favor

A Simple Favor

2018, R, 117 min. Directed by Paul Feig. Starring Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, Henry Golding.

REVIEWED By Richard Whittaker, Fri., Sept. 14, 2018

The key to a great cocktail is not just throwing everything in a glass and hoping for the best. It’s adding the right amount of the right ingredients, in the right way, so that even the most deranged combinations make sense as a whole. Like how even a whiff of vermouth turns a bucket of gin into a martini.

That’s what Paul Feig’s deliciously trashy A Simple Favor is: Just the right mixture of movie of the week, Diabolique, Peyton Place, Alfred Hitchcock, and The Thin Man. It may seem a switch for the Freaks and Geeks creator who made his cinematic reputation with bawdy female-fronted comedies like Bridesmaids, but the clues are in the logo card for his production company, Feigco Entertainment: A woman in a stylish 1950s dress and white evening gloves, with oh-so-sharp garden shears behind her back. It’s the sense of something wicked afoot behind the white picket fences of suburbia, and it’s up to single mom turned amateur sleuth Stephanie Smothers (Kendrick) to get to the bottom of it all – that is, unless her own filthy secrets drag her down first.

The real anchor that threatens to drag her down is Emily Nelson (Lively), who looks like she walked straight off the cover of a copy of Cosmopolitan, all long everything and oh-so-fashionable, causing Stephanie to become the oh-so-smitten kitten – not in a sexual way, just in a sense of awe. Emily has everything, but acts like she has nothing, constantly writing off her novelist husband Sean (Crazy Rich Asians' Golding) as a loser, claiming that she's a great mom but showing all the nurturing skills of a cuckoo. Still, she seems prepared to tolerate the company of Stephanie, even though the tongue-tied mommy vlogger seems to have nothing she could want. And then Emily disappears, and suddenly it's up to Stephanie to step in and save her pal.

At this point, just strap in, because A Simple Favor's plot isn't just twisty: It's so labyrinthine that you expect a minotaur to pop up. With more red herrings and American Gothic hijinks than should be seemly in polite company, the murder-mystery influences are obvious in this homage/spoof of Gillian Flynn-style femmes fatale. Yet Feig and American Horror Story writer Jessica Sharzer (adapting Darcey Bell’s equally baroque novel) seem to always have Agatha Christie in the corner of their eye. The Queen of Crime’s greatest addition to the genre was taking the most unlikely of sleuths – an adorable old spinster, a bumptious Belgian detective – and put them into the darkest of perils. Kendrick is an equally improbable detective, but her fidgety energy has rarely been put to better ends. She has the wit and whimsy of a younger Steve Martin, making this her Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid – a campy detective flick that truly loves the genre.


For an interview with the director, read "Can You Help? Paul Feig Needs A Simple Favor," Sept. 13.

Showtimes

Tue., Sept. 25

4:35, 7:35, 10:40
AFA 11:20am, 1:40

Wed., Sept. 26

11:20am, 1:40, 4:35, 7:35, 10:40

Thu., Sept. 27

12:35, 3:35, 5:15, 6:55, 10:05

Fri., Sept. 28

10:50am, 1:50, 4:50, 7:50, 10:50

Sat., Sept. 29

10:20am, 1:25, 4:25, 7:25, 10:25

Sun., Sept. 30

10:50am, 1:50, 4:50, 7:50, 10:50

Mon., Oct. 1

1:20, 4:25, 7:25, 10:25

Tue., Sept. 25

3:00, 6:00, 9:00
AFA 12:00

Wed., Sept. 26

7:40, 10:40

Thu., Sept. 27

1:00, 3:45, 6:35, 10:00

Fri., Sept. 28

12:30, 4:00, 7:15, 10:15

Sat., Sept. 29

1:30, 4:30, 7:45, 10:30

Sun., Sept. 30

12:20, 3:20, 6:45, 10:10

Mon., Oct. 1

12:15, 3:15, 6:15

Alamo Drafthouse Slaughter Lane

5701 W. Slaughter, 512/861-7060, drafthouse.com/austin/theater/slaughter-lane

Showtimes at this venue are subject to frequent change. Please confirm daily times by phone or website.

Tue., Sept. 25

2:00, 5:00, 7:35, 9:40
AFA 11:00am

Wed., Sept. 26

12:00, 3:00, 7:00, 10:00

Thu., Sept. 27

12:00, 3:00, 7:40, 10:40

Fri., Sept. 28

12:00, 1:40, 4:40, 7:40, 10:15

Sat., Sept. 29

11:55am, 3:45, 7:15, 10:15

Sun., Sept. 30

11:30am, 3:30, 7:30, 9:10

Mon., Oct. 1

1:00, 4:00, 7:00, 10:00

Fri., Sept. 28

1:50, 4:50, 7:45, 10:45

Sat., Sept. 29

12:55, 3:55, 7:00, 10:00

Sun., Sept. 30

12:05, 3:05, 7:25, 9:30

Mon., Oct. 1

1:00, 4:00, 7:00, 10:00

Alamo Drafthouse Village

2700 W. Anderson Ste 701, 512/861-7030, drafthouse.com

Tuesday matinee Baby Day shows (first show of the day) are intended for parents and their children younger than 6. Showtimes at this venue are subject to frequent change. Please confirm daily times by phone or website.

Tue., Sept. 25

3:25, 6:25, 9:35
AFA 12:55

Wed., Sept. 26

12:00, 3:00, 6:00, 9:05

Thu., Sept. 27

1:20, 3:15, 6:15, 9:20

Fri., Sept. 28

12:50, 3:55, 7:00, 9:45

Sat., Sept. 29

1:30, 4:30, 7:30, 9:15

Sun., Sept. 30

1:35, 4:35, 7:35, 9:20

Mon., Oct. 1

12:30, 3:35, 6:40

Barton Creek Square (AMC)

2901 South Capital of Texas Hwy, 512/306-1991, www.amctheatres.com

Matinee discounts available before 4pm daily. Bring Your Baby matinees the first Tuesday of every month.

Tue., Sept. 25

CC/DVS 10:55am, 1:40, 4:30, 7:20

Wed., Sept. 26

CC/DVS 10:55am, 1:40, 4:30, 7:20

Thu., Sept. 27

CC/DVS 11:15am, 2:20, 5:10, 8:00

Cinemark 20 and XD

N. I-35 & FM 1825, 512/989-8535

Cost for 3-D and XD shows is regular ticket price plus a premium.

Tue., Sept. 25

digital 1:00, 4:00, 7:00, 10:00

Wed., Sept. 26

digital 1:00, 4:00, 7:00, 10:00

Cinemark Cedar Park

1335 E. Whitestone, Cedar Park, 800/326-3264

Call theatre for complete list of movies and showtimes.

Tue., Sept. 25

digital 12:50, 3:50, 7:00, 10:00

Wed., Sept. 26

digital 12:50, 3:50, 7:00, 10:00

Tue., Sept. 25

digital 10:40am, 1:40, 4:40, 7:40, 10:35

Wed., Sept. 26

digital 10:40am, 1:40, 4:40, 7:40, 10:35

Cinemark Round Rock

4401 N. I-35, Round Rock, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium. Call theatre for complete March 26-28 showtimes.

Tue., Sept. 25

digital 1:20, 4:10, 7:10, 10:05

Wed., Sept. 26

digital 1:20, 4:10, 7:10, 10:05

Thu., Sept. 27

digital 1:20, 4:10, 7:10, 10:05

Cinemark Southpark Meadows

9900 S. I-35, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Tue., Sept. 25

digital 11:00am, 1:55, 4:40, 7:35, 10:20

Wed., Sept. 26

digital 11:00am, 1:55, 4:40, 7:35, 10:20

Cinemark Stone Hill Town Center

18820 Hilltop Commercial Dr., 512/251-0938, www.cinemark.com

Tue., Sept. 25

digital 12:10, 3:20, 6:45

Wed., Sept. 26

digital 12:10, 3:20, 6:45

City Lights Theatre

420 Wolf Ranch Parkway, Georgetown, 512/868-9922

Tue., Sept. 25

1:40, 4:35, 7:20, 10:00

Wed., Sept. 26

1:40, 4:35, 7:20, 10:00

Thu., Sept. 27

1:40, 4:35, 7:20, 10:00

EVO Entertainment

3200 Kyle Crossing, Kyle, 512/523-9009, www.evo-entertainment.com

Tue., Sept. 25

11:05am, 2:00, 4:45, 7:30, 10:15

Wed., Sept. 26

11:05am, 2:00, 4:45, 7:30, 10:15

Flix Brewhouse

2200 S. I-35, Round Rock, 512/244-3549, www.flixbrewhouse.com/round-rock

Tue., Sept. 25

CC 12:45, 3:15, 6:30, 9:45

Wed., Sept. 26

CC 12:45, 3:15, 6:30, 9:45

Thu., Sept. 27

CC 2:50, 6:45, 9:55

Fri., Sept. 28

CC 1:50, 4:30, 6:30, 9:40

Sat., Sept. 29

CC 2:25, 4:30, 6:30, 9:40

Sun., Sept. 30

CC 1:50, 4:30, 6:30, 9:40

Mon., Oct. 1

CC 1:50, 4:30, 6:30, 9:40

Galaxy Highland 10

6700 Middle Fiskville, 512/467-7305, www.galaxytheatres.com

No one under 18 will be allowed in the theatre on Friday or Saturday after 7pm without an adult.

Tue., Sept. 25

3:15, 6:30, 9:20
CC/DL/HI/NO PASS 12:00, 3:15, 6:30, 9:20

Wed., Sept. 26

12:00, 3:15, 6:30, 9:20
CC/DL/HI/NO PASS 12:00, 3:15, 6:30, 9:20

Thu., Sept. 27

12:00, 3:15, 6:30, 9:20
CC/DL/HI/NO PASS 12:00, 3:15, 6:30, 9:20

Fri., Sept. 28

12:00, 3:15, 6:30, 9:20, 11:55

Sat., Sept. 29

12:00, 3:15, 6:30, 9:20, 11:55

Sun., Sept. 30

12:00, 3:15, 6:30, 9:20

Mon., Oct. 1

12:00, 3:15, 6:30, 9:20

Gateway Theatre

9700 Stonelake, 512/416-5700

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Tue., Sept. 25

CC/DVS 12:10, 3:15, 6:50, 9:50

Wed., Sept. 26

CC/DVS 12:10, 3:15, 6:50, 9:50

Thu., Sept. 27

CC/DVS 12:10, 3:15, 6:50, 9:50

iPic Theaters Austin

3225 Amy Donovan Plaza, 512/568-3400, www.ipic.com

Tue., Sept. 25

11:45am, 3:00, 6:15, 9:30

Wed., Sept. 26

11:45am, 3:00, 6:15, 9:30

Fri., Sept. 28

11:00am, 2:30, 6:00, 9:15

Sat., Sept. 29

11:00am, 2:30, 6:00, 9:15

Sun., Sept. 30

11:00am, 2:30, 6:00, 9:15

Mon., Oct. 1

11:00am, 2:30, 6:00, 9:15

AMC Lakeline 9

11200 Lakeline Mall Dr., Cedar Park, 512/335-4793

Discounts daily before 6pm.

Tue., Sept. 25

CC/DVS 2:00, 4:45, 7:30

Wed., Sept. 26

CC/DVS 2:00, 4:45, 7:30

Metropolitan

901 Little Texas, 512/447-0101

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Tue., Sept. 25

CC/DVS 1:10, 4:10, 7:15, 10:10

Wed., Sept. 26

CC/DVS 1:10, 4:10, 7:15, 10:10

Thu., Sept. 27

CC/DVS 1:10, 4:10, 7:15, 10:10

Moviehouse & Eatery

8300 N. FM 620, Bldg. B, 512/501-3520, www.themoviehouse.com/trails/

Tue., Sept. 25

10:30am, 11:30am, 12:30, 2:45, 3:45, 6:00, 7:00, 9:15, 10:15

Wed., Sept. 26

10:30am, 11:30am, 12:30, 2:45, 3:45, 6:00, 7:30, 9:15

Thu., Sept. 27

10:30am, 11:30am, 12:30, 2:45, 3:45, 6:00, 9:15

Fri., Sept. 28

11:30am, 2:45, 4:50, 6:30, 9:45

Sat., Sept. 29

11:30am, 2:45, 4:50, 6:30, 9:45

Sun., Sept. 30

11:30am, 2:45, 4:50, 6:30, 9:45

Mon., Oct. 1

11:30am, 2:45, 4:50, 6:30, 9:45

Moviehouse & Eatery - Lantana Place

7415 Southwest Parkway, Building 7, 512/572-0770, www.themoviehouse.com/lantana/

Tue., Sept. 25

10:30am, 12:00, 1:30, 3:15, 4:30, 6:30, 7:30, 9:40, 10:45

Wed., Sept. 26

12:00, 12:30, 3:15, 3:45, 6:30, 9:40

Thu., Sept. 27

10:30am, 12:00, 1:30, 3:15, 6:30, 9:40, 10:35

Fri., Sept. 28

10:00am, 1:10, 4:20, 7:30, 10:00

Sat., Sept. 29

10:00am, 1:10, 4:20, 7:30, 10:00

Sun., Sept. 30

10:00am, 1:10, 4:20, 7:30, 10:00

Mon., Oct. 1

10:30am, 1:30, 4:30, 7:30, 10:00

Schulman Theatres Lost Pines 8

1600 Chestnut St, Bastrop, 512/321-0123, www.schulmantheatres.com

Thu., Sept. 27

7:10, 10:10

Fri., Sept. 28

9:50am, 9:50am, 1:10, 1:10, 4:05, 4:05, 7:10, 7:10, 10:15, 10:15
9:50am, 9:50am, 1:10, 1:10, 4:05, 4:05, 7:10, 7:10, 10:15, 10:15

Sat., Sept. 29

9:50am, 9:50am, 1:10, 1:10, 4:05, 4:05, 7:10, 7:10, 10:15, 10:15
9:50am, 9:50am, 1:10, 1:10, 4:05, 4:05, 7:10, 7:10, 10:15, 10:15

Sun., Sept. 30

9:50am, 9:50am, 1:10, 1:10, 4:05, 4:05, 7:10, 7:10, 10:15, 10:15
9:50am, 9:50am, 1:10, 1:10, 4:05, 4:05, 7:10, 7:10, 10:15, 10:15

Mon., Oct. 1

9:50am, 9:50am, 1:10, 1:10, 4:05, 4:05, 7:10, 7:10, 10:15, 10:15
9:50am, 9:50am, 1:10, 1:10, 4:05, 4:05, 7:10, 7:10, 10:15, 10:15

ShowBiz Cinemas 8 Marble Falls

2600 Hwy 281 North, Marble Falls

Call theatre for August 22-23 showtimes.

Tue., Sept. 25

2:00, 4:50, 7:30

Wed., Sept. 26

2:10, 4:50, 7:30

Thu., Sept. 27

2:00, 4:50, 7:30

Sky Cinemas

13201 US-290, 512/457-0700, www.skycinemas.com

Tue., Sept. 25

11:45am, 1:00, 3:35, 5:45, 8:30

Wed., Sept. 26

11:45am, 1:00, 3:35, 5:45, 8:30

Thu., Sept. 27

11:45am, 1:00, 3:35, 5:45, 8:30

Tue., Sept. 25

4:00, 7:30, 9:30

Wed., Sept. 26

4:00, 7:30, 9:30

Thu., Sept. 27

5:00, 6:45, 9:40

Fri., Sept. 28

1:00, 1:45, 2:00, 5:00, 7:15, 9:40

Sat., Sept. 29

1:00, 1:45, 2:00, 5:00, 7:15, 9:40

Sun., Sept. 30

11:15am, 2:10, 5:00, 7:45, 9:35

Mon., Oct. 1

3:45, 7:00, 9:50

Starplex 12 San Marcos

1250 Wonder World Drive, San Marcos, 512/805-8000

Tue., Sept. 25

12:45, 3:45, 7:00, 10:00

Wed., Sept. 26

12:45, 3:45, 7:00, 10:00

Thu., Sept. 27

12:45, 3:45, 7:00, 10:00

Fri., Sept. 28

11:20am, 2:05, 4:50, 7:40, 10:30

Sat., Sept. 29

11:20am, 2:05, 4:50, 7:40, 10:30

Sun., Sept. 30

11:20am, 2:05, 4:50, 7:40, 10:30

Mon., Oct. 1

12:45, 3:45, 7:00, 10:00

Violet Crown Cinema

434 W. Second, 512/495-9600, www.violetcrowncinema.com

Four-hour parking validation in attached garage with ticket purchase. Reserved seating; bar and cafe on-site.

Tue., Sept. 25

11:50am, 1:30, 5:00, 7:30, 10:15

Wed., Sept. 26

11:50am, 1:30, 5:00, 7:30, 10:00

Thu., Sept. 27

5:00, 7:30, 10:00

Westgate 11

4477 S. Lamar, 512/899-2717

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Tue., Sept. 25

CC/DVS 11:45am, 1:20, 4:00, 6:40, 9:20

Wed., Sept. 26

CC/DVS 11:45am, 1:20, 4:00, 6:40, 9:20

Thu., Sept. 27

CC/DVS 11:30am, 1:20, 4:40, 7:20, 10:00

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

A Simple Favor, Paul Feig, Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, Henry Golding

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