Starring: Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, Henry Golding, Rupert Friend, Joshua Satine, Linda Cardellini, Eric Johnson, Jean Smart
OUR RATING: ★★★☆☆
Mystery thriller directed by Paul Feig. A Simple Favor centers on small-town mommy vlogger, Stephanie Ward (Anna Kendrick) and her best friend, Emily Nelson (Blake Lively). Everything changes for Stephanie when, one day, Emily asks her to pick up her son from school only to disappear thereafter. Stephanie thus sets out to uncover the truth behind Emily’s disappearance with the help of Emily’s husband, Sean (Henry Golding).
Our Favorite Quote:
Stephanie Smothers: [talking to the camera doing an entry for her vlog] Hi, moms, Stephanie here. Today, as promised, I am going to share my zucchini chocolate chip cookie recipe. But first, many of you have asked me for an update on the Emily situation. And for those of you who are new to my vlog, you should know my best friend Emily is missing right now. She asked me a simple favor, to pick up her son Nicky from school, which was five days ago, and she hasn’t come back yet, so I’m sorry. We’re all really worried, and I’m doing everything I can to help the police track her down. But I’m realizing I don’t know her as well as I thought I did. It’s like my mom used to say, God rest her soul, “Secrets are like margarine, easy to spread, bad for the heart.” But as different as we are, I do consider Emily my best friend. She is this wonderful, elegant person. And our sons brought us together, actually. Well, you know, for our new friends, I’ll just start from the beginning. I met Emily a few weeks ago at school. It was International Cuisine Day in my son’s first grade class, and once again, I drew Sweden, which meant my famous meatless meatballs.
Emily Nelson: [picking up her son, Nicky, from school] Come here, little dude. Oh, my baby! Look at your shirt. Did any food make it into your mouth?
Miles Smothers: Ask her, Nicky! Ask her!
Emily Nelson: Ask me what?
Nicky Nelson: We want a play date. Oh, we can’t, mommy already has a play date with a symphony of anti-depressants. Emily Nelson: Let’s go.
Miles and Nicky: Play date! Play date! Play date!
Emily Nelson: Baby, please don’t do this. I got to go. Come on. I got a ton of work to do.
Nicky Nelson: You don’t let me have any fun.
Emily Nelson: That’s not true. I let you tear my labia as you exited my body, so you’re welcome.
Emily Nelson: Do you drink? I need a martini.
Stephanie Smothers: Oh! Yeah. I like martinis. I haven’t had one in a long time. They’re good, though. I had one that was, like, mostly chocolate and I was like, “Alcohol and chocolate? Mom life!”
Emily Nelson: Oh, okay. No play date. Come on, kid, let’s go.
Nicky Nelson: Then I’m staying here.
Emily Nelson: Christ, he’s f***ing stubborn.
Stephanie Smothers: It doesn’t have to have the chocolate in it, like…
Emily Nelson: Okay, I don’t think I’m going to win this, so, I mean, do you want to come over for a beverage of any kind? I think I could use some backup.
Stephanie Smothers: That’s me? I’m backup?
Emily Nelson: Does your kid drink, maybe? I mean, it’s never too early to start teaching them.
Stephanie Smothers: I think you’re joking, but great.
Emily Nelson: Did you just take my picture?
Stephanie Smothers: I’m yearbook mom.
Emily Nelson: Did I ask you to take my picture? Erase it.
Stephanie Smothers: Oh, you look really chic. It’s just for Faces and Places. Just for the other parents.
Emily Nelson: Erase it, or I’ll slap a f***ing injunction on your yearbook. Do you understand?
Stephanie Smothers: Yeah. Okay. Yeah, it’s gone. Woh. Bye-bye.
Emily Nelson: Don’t do that again.
Stephanie Smothers: Oh, my gosh, I’m so sorry. Or I didn’t mean to offend you. I’m sure that stuff’s really sensitive in your industry.
Emily Nelson: Oh, no. It’s all good.
Stephanie Smothers: I’m probably not the kind of person you’re normally friends with.
Emily Nelson: Oh, you do not want to be friends with me. Trust me.
Stephanie Smothers: [referring to the friendship bracelet] Here. I made that for you.
Emily Nelson: You made this for me?
Stephanie Smothers: Thought it would go with that pinstriped suit you have.
Emily Nelson: Really? That’s nice. No one does stuff like this for me.
Stephanie Smothers: I used to watch those Bewitched reruns on TV Land, and I always thought it was so classy when Darrin would come from work and Samantha would fix him a martini. So every time we do this, I feel so high-tone.
Emily Nelson: My God, you’re such a nerd.
Emily Nelson: You are so nice. I have no idea how you’ve survived this long.
Stephanie Smothers: I’m not as nice as you think, so.
Emily Nelson: Are you baiting me?
Stephanie Smothers: No! I’m just saying, everybody has a dark side.
Emily Nelson: Mm-hmm.
Stephanie Smothers: Some of us are better at hiding it than others.
Emily Nelson: Want to trade confessions?
Stephanie Smothers: No, no. No.
Emily Nelson: Come on. What’s the wildest thing you’ve ever done?
Stephanie Smothers: Oh, I… No, I don’t know. I shouldn’t. You go first.
Emily Nelson: Okay, a few months ago, Sean and I had his TA over for dinner and drinks, and a threesome.
Stephanie Smothers: Was Sean jealous of him?
Emily Nelson: Did I say it was a him?
Stephanie Smothers: That’s very cool, sis. Very cool.
Emily Nelson: I want to know your secret. Tell me.
Stephanie Smothers: My dad died when I was a senior in high school. And this boy showed up to the funeral. His name was Chris, and I guess he was the spitting image of my father thirty years younger. My mom thought she saw a ghost. And it turned out he was my half-brother.
Emily Nelson: That’s your whole secret? That your dad had an affair?
Stephanie Smothers: No!
Emily Nelson: Okay, can you just tell me your secret? Come on, spill it, dark side.
Stephanie Smothers: So, Chris, it was too late for him to drive home, so he stayed over. We stayed up all night, talking and, my dad was, my dad was really the person who understood me, and he was gone, so I was alone-alone for the first time. But he sees me, you know? Like, he really sees me. And we just stared at each other for the longest time.
Emily Nelson: You can’t be too drunk in my house not to finish the story. What happened?
Stephanie Smothers: Yeah. Okay, so, I don’t know, maybe it’s not so racy where you’re from, but…
Emily Nelson: Stop avoiding. Tell me what happened.
Stephanie Smothers: We stood there for the longest time.
Emily Nelson: Uh-huh.
Stephanie Smothers: So I went in to hug him and, and we kissed. I know. It’s so gross.
Emily Nelson: The end?
Stephanie Smothers: Yeah.
Emily Nelson: You just kissed?
Stephanie Smothers: Yeah, we kissed.
Emily Nelson: You just kissed your brother?
Stephanie Smothers: Yeah. It’s so…
Emily Nelson: What?
Stephanie Smothers: Ugh. It’s so lurid. It’s my half-brother. It’s not my brother, but…
Emily Nelson: It’s your half-brother, though? Oh, okay.
Stephanie Smothers: It’s my…
Emily Nelson: Yeah, there’s more.
Stephanie Smothers: No. No, there’s not more.
Emily Nelson: Mm-hmm.
Stephanie Smothers: No, no.
Emily Nelson: Yeah, there is.
Stephanie Smothers: Hi!
Emily Nelson: [over phone] Stephanie! Thank God you picked up. Hey, I just have a little emergency.
Stephanie Smothers: Oh, really? That’s a coincidence. I was just…
Emily Nelson: I need your help.
Stephanie Smothers: Are you okay?
Emily Nelson: I’m fine, but I do need just a simple favor. Can you grab Nicky from school? Sean’s in London, his mother broke her f***ing hip, and I got a big fire to put out at work.
Stephanie Smothers: Oh, yeah. Oh, my God! Poor Sean, poor you. Anything I can do to help. Yeah.
Emily Nelson: You’re the best. Hey, I got to run, but I’ll get you back for this, okay?
Stephanie Smothers: Of course. Nicky’s in good hands.
Emily Nelson: Hey, Stephanie, you’re a good person. A true friend. I mean that.
Stephanie Smothers: Don’t worry about it. I will talk to you later. Bye.
Sean Townsend: [referring to Emily] God knows we’ve had our troubles in the past, but I don’t think she’d just up and leave her child.
Stephanie Smothers: No, God, she adores Nicky. She wouldn’t do that.
Sean Townsend: She is an enigma, my wife. That’s what drew me to her. It can also make her impossible. She can be so fiercely private.
Stephanie Smothers: She sure doesn’t like having her picture taken, I’ll tell you that.
Sean Townsend: I remember this one time, she shut down my Facebook because I posted up a family picture.
Stephanie Smothers: Oh, social media is so tricky.
Sean Townsend: You can get close to her, but you can never quite reach her. She’s like a beautiful ghost. Never entirely there.
Stephanie Smothers: That’s so poetic. You know, that’s why you’re such a good writer.
Sean Townsend: I’m not a writer anymore, Stephanie. I gave all that up just to chase this woman for the rest of my life.
Detective Summervile: Let me ask you something. Were you aware that he took out an extra four million dollar life insurance policy on Emily before she disappeared?
Stephanie Smothers: I was not aware of that, no. Why? How would I? Okay, alright. Yeah, I don’t, I’m sorry. What did, what are you, are you saying he had her rubbed out? He hired a hitman?
Detective Summervile: [laughs] I didn’t say anything about him hiring a hitman. You just did.
Stephanie Smothers: Okay, I can see that you’re enjoying yourself, Detective Summerville. But if you want to grill someone, you should really speak to Emily’s boss, Dennis Nylon. He could not be more suspicious.
Detective Summervile: That’s super interesting because he contacted us and he said he thought you knew more than you were letting on.
Stephanie Smothers: Well, he, he sucks, so.
Detective Summervile: As long as you’re honest with me, Ms. Smothers, I swear to you, you have nothing to worry about, okay? I’m just following breadcrumbs wherever they lead. Okay, you know what? I’m done for now. Thanks for your time.
Stephanie Smothers: Your theory doesn’t hold water, you know, because it doesn’t explain the fake plane ticket or the rental car. And why would someone shoot her full of heroin at a summer camp in Michigan? There’s plenty of good heroin right here in Connecticut, I’m told.
Detective Summervile: Great, good. Okay, so we have a lot to talk about. Alright, then. Enjoy the new house.
Stephanie Smothers: The worst breadcrumbs I’ve ever heard of, you know. Couldn’t fill a Caesar salad with those breadcrumbs!
Sean Townsend: What did you guys get up to today at school?
Nicky Nelson: I saw my mom.
Sean Townsend: I understand, Nicky, that sometimes we think we see people that we miss even if they’re gone.
Nicky Nelson: No, I saw her. She was right outside the fence by the kickball yard at recess.
Sean Townsend: Well, lots of people look like someone else.
Nicky Nelson: Nobody looks like mom! She told me to say hi to Stephanie.
Sean Townsend: Nicky, this is unhealthy.
Nicky Nelson: Miles saw her too. Right, Miles?
Miles Smothers: I think I did. But I don’t know. I was playing tetherball.
Stephanie Smothers: Did you two hatch this up? Is this a game, like when you smash everything with trucks? Because you know what we say about lying.
Nicky Nelson: I’m not lying! I saw her! F*** you!
Sean Townsend: [as Nicky runs off] Hey, Nicky!
Miles Smothers: Oopsy.
Sean Townsend: What is it? What’s wrong?
Stephanie Smothers: I smell her, Sean. I smell her perfume. It’s all over Nicky like a ghost.
Sean Townsend: He probably got to her perfume bottle in the medicine cabinet. He misses her. Okay? It’s just you being paranoid.
Stephanie Smothers: Is it? Because I found this too.
Sean Townsend: What’s this?
Stephanie Smothers: It’s the friendship bracelet I made her.
Sean Townsend: I’m afraid to say she would not have kept this. She hated stuff like this. She probably gave it to him right after you gave it to her.
Stephanie Smothers: Unless he’s telling the truth.
Sean Townsend: You saw her with your own eyes, in her coffin.
Stephanie Smothers: There was something off.
Sean Townsend: They found her at the bottom of a lake! You saw her tattoo, and you saw that ring that she stole from my mother.
Stephanie Smothers: She said your mother wanted her to have that ring. She said your mother insisted.
Sean Townsend: That’s what she told you? My father gave that ring to my mother. It was like the only bit of jewelry that she ever owned. I took Emily to London to meet my mother after we eloped. It went missing that weekend. My mother was frantic. We searched everywhere. Nothing. We didn’t find a single thing. My mother was devastated. So we took our flight back to New York.
Stephanie Smothers: [doing an entry for her vlog] Hi, moms. Stephanie here. I’m going to do something a little different today. I normally avoid any talk of religion on the vlog. I don’t want to offend any non-denominational moms, but I do think that we live on after we die. So, Emily, if you are out there, and you can hear me right now, no one could ever replace you. And you’ll always be Nicky’s mom. I can’t take your place. I can just try to love the people that you love and try to make their lives better. I think that’s what you would want.
Stephanie Smothers: [referring to Davis and Chris dying in the car crash] It’s my fault. I’m the reason they’re both dead.
Emily Nelson: No. Hey, don’t do that. People, people do terrible things for their own f***ed-up reasons. That’s on them, not on you.
Stephanie Smothers: Yeah. I miss him.
Emily Nelson: Which one?
Stephanie Smothers: Both. I’m lonely. I think loneliness probably kills more people than cancer.
Diana Hyland: She never let me paint her face except for this one. I’ve never seen such a beautiful girl want to be so invisible or just completely vanish. But you know what, it takes money to vanish, and so she took everything that she could from me. You know how I would paint you? Beatific. Like, like a f***ing saint.
Stephanie Smothers: I get that a lot.
Diana Hyland: You should embrace it. People love saints.
Stephanie Smothers: Yeah. After they’re dead.
Diana Hyland: Okay. What do you know about her? How did she die?
Stephanie Smothers: In a lake, on heroin.
Diana Hyland: Well, you don’t believe that, or you wouldn’t be here.
Stephanie Smothers: She didn’t ever mention Michigan, did she?
Diana Hyland: [pushes a box towards Stephanie] That is the only thing that she ever left here. She said she had it since she was a kid. I warn you, you go poking around in her past, you’re going to find some s**t that is terrifying. She was not a normal person like you or me.
Stephanie Smothers: [doing an entry for her vlog] Stephanie here. I want to thank you for all the love and support you’ve been sending me. It means so much. You know, as shocked as you guys are about these turns of events, I can assure you, nobody is more stunned than me. Emily had her secrets. So did her husband. Clearly, I was the naive romantic caught in the middle. I love you guys. I always will. I hope you can forgive me in advance for what I have to do. Moms, do everything yourself.
Stephanie Smothers: [to Sean and Emily] You used me. You used me too. But you had me making you dinner, watching your kid, and sucking your d**k.
Sean Townsend: I had no idea that she was still alive!
Stephanie Smothers: Stop lying.
Emily Nelson: Okay, you guys. I think we should just sit down and talk this out.
Sean Townsend: Emily, you sit down. You hated Stephanie. You used to watch her vlog and rip her apart.
Stephanie Smothers: All I wanted was to be your friend.
Emily Nelson: You were. And then you f***ed my husband and my insurance plan.
Sean Townsend: Don’t blame her! This is so typical of you.
Emily Nelson: Sean, I was just trying to get us out of crushing f***ing debt.
Sean Townsend: Yeah, maybe if you had the good sense to give me a call, I could’ve helped you with this little plot of yours.
Emily Nelson: Oh, please, you haven’t come up with a decent plot in ten years.
Sean Townsend: Really? Right now?
Stephanie Smothers: Can I say something, as the lady with the gun? Nicky deserves better than both of you.
Emily Nelson: F*** you. I love my kid.
Sean Townsend: Shut up!
Sean Townsend: Stephanie, put down the gun. You don’t want to do this.
Stephanie Smothers: [to Sean and Emily] I really do, though. I loved you. I loved you too. I think this is the best thing.
Sean Townsend: Woh.
Stephanie Smothers: We could say he attacked us. They’ll believe us, you know?
Emily Nelson: No, no, no. You’re not f***ing serious. You’re not going to kill him. We’re just going to send him to jail.
Stephanie Smothers: Are you serious? Jail’s enough for you?
Emily Nelson: You don’t need to kill him.
Stephanie Smothers: Aren’t you angry? Don’t you want revenge for your sister?
Emily Nelson: Yeah, yes. But he didn’t technically kill her.
Stephanie Smothers: Then who did? Because I don’t buy that it was an accident. Screw this.
[she shoots Sean in the chest]
Stephanie Smothers: [referring to Sean] Do I just let him die? I mean, he deserved it, right?
Emily Nelson: No, I killed her. I killed my sister.
Stephanie Smothers: What? Sean? Sean?
Emily Nelson: Get up. Show’s over. Come on. Seriously? Come on. Get the f*** up. Hey! You too, Brando. Get up!
Sean Townsend: F***!
Emily Nelson: Wow. That was extra. I mean, obviously, I knew you guys were up to something when I saw both the mics that you had the cops plant in here. You clearly wanted a confession out of me, so you could clear Sean’s name. And that was, that was a good way to go about it. Where you messed up, though, baby girl, is thinking that I would confess to protect that f***ing yeast infection. Really? Come on, you got to know better than that. But then you came in, all emotional with the gun. And that was, that was convincing. Yeah. It was very cinematic. I don’t even know where you find this s**t. You’re really amazing.
Stephanie Smothers: Thanks. That means a lot. But you did confess, Emily.
Emily Nelson: Oh. Yeah. I did, but I cut these first, though.
[take out the cut wired mics]
Emily Nelson: For our friendship bracelets. One for you!
Stephanie Smothers: That is disappointing.
Emily Nelson: Oh! My God! Look what I found. Huh!
Stephanie Smothers: [picks up the gun] Okay. You can’t shoot us. The police are outside.
Emily Nelson: No, they’re not. “Hey, cops, Stephanie here. Change of plans. I’m meeting Emily and Sean at Darren’s house now. I’ll see you there.”
Stephanie Smothers: You sent them to Darren’s house?
Emily Nelson: I’ve been on the run for ten years. You think I don’t know how to manipulate the system?
Sean Townsend: So you’re going to kill us?
Emily Nelson: Well, what the f*** else am I supposed to do? You two will clearly go to extraordinary lengths to take me down. And you know too much. So, I feel like a murder-suicide is the only fitting end for you two. And if you kill him, I think our insurance still covers that, right? I mean, it’s sort of perfect. One door closes and another one opens. Thank you for that.
Sean Townsend: You always have been f***ing crazy, haven’t you?
Emily Nelson: Have I?
[Emily shoots Sean in the shoulder]
Stephanie Smothers: Emily, come on. You’re not going to kill me.
Emily Nelson: Oh, yeah. I killed my dad, and my sister. But I could never kill my husband-f***ing best friend.
Stephanie Smothers: Am I really your best friend? You’re not just saying that for, you know?
Emily Nelson: No, no. I’m not just saying that at all.
Stephanie Smothers: I get worried that it’s just me.
Emily Nelson: I know, sometimes I was worried about that too.
Stephanie Smothers: It’s so hard to connect with other moms.
Emily Nelson: And then when you have a full-time job, it’s…
Stephanie Smothers: Okay, okay. Don’t pull that crap. Being a mom is a full-time job. What I do is hard work. And I have my vlog on top of that, and that’s just getting bigger and bigger. If you came on the vlog, that’d be so fun. If you came on the vlog and confessed to killing your father and sister and held me at gunpoint, I could probably hit a million subscribers.
Emily Nelson: Oh, that would’ve been great.
Stephanie Smothers: Why don’t we do that right now?
Emily Nelson: Hmm?
Stephanie Smothers: We’re live streaming. Did you not know that?
Emily Nelson: What the f*** are you talking about?
Stephanie Smothers: God, that’s so rude, I’m sorry. Wave hi to the moms!
Stephanie Smothers: [points to her little hidden camera on her sweater] This little gadget. Woop! Yeah. They make nanny cams so small these days.
Emily Nelson: Brotherf***er!
[Emily truns and starts running out of the house]
Stephanie Smothers: [running after Emily] Emily! Emily, stop! Emily, you can’t outrun this! Don’t do this to Nicky. Come on, you’re still his mom!
Emily Nelson: [stops and turns to Samantha] Yeah, I am. But you sure as s**t won’t be.
Darren: [as Emily goes shoot Samantha, she’s suddenly hit by Darren’s car] America’s hybrids. Silent, but deadly.
Stephanie Smothers: [as Emily is being arrested and taken away by the cops] I’m sorry! I’m not sorry. I’m still working on that.
Stephanie Smothers: [six months later, doing another entry for her vlog] Hi, moms! Stephanie here. We have very exciting news today because we signed up our one-millionth subscriber, Mrs. Carol Findley of Ames, Iowa! Thank you for joining us, Carol. You should know, as our newest friend, that in addition to my usual helpful tips and recipes, I now take on unsolved mysteries, because it turns out I have a nose for sniffing out the freshest basil and criminals who thought they got away with it. So if you have a cold case, or a mystery that needs to be unraveled, you can just drop me a line. That includes you now, Carol, because you’re part of the family. For now, we’re going to be talking about my favorite cold soup, gazpacho, which is normally gross, but we’re not going to make it gross. Right, guys? It’s going to be great.