Impeccably dressed and poised for success, Paul Feig’s new comedy-thriller A Simple Favor is one of the sharpest comedies of the year. It’s also one of the most dastardly thrillers in recent memory. And somewhere inside of it there’s a recipe for zucchini chocolate chip cookies that probably tastes better than it sounds.
A Simple Favor stars Anna Kendrick as Stephanie Smothers, a “Mommy Blogger” with a web series that teaches fellow moms how to combine baked goods and origami, and make other charmingly elaborate treats. Stephanie is a perfect mom, whose son is best friends with a boy whose mother, Emily Nelson, is perfect in different kinds of ways.
Blake Lively plays Emily as a golden age Hollywood star, decked out in the perfect tuxedo attire of Greta Garbo. She’s crass and inappropriate; when Stephanie suggests their sons have a playdate, Emily says, “Mommy already has a playdate with a symphony of antidepressants.” Stephanie is clearly attracted to the affluence, the style and the sultry sexuality of Emily, while Emily is clearly attracted to the fact that Stephanie can be exploited as a free babysitting service.