A Simple Favor harkened back to the ’90s era mystery thrillers. Stephanie (Anna Kendrick) got sucked into Emily (Blake Lively)’s mystery when they became friends through their sons’ school. Director Paul Feig embraced the macabre comedy of the premise but always stayed true to the genre.
On Blu-ray, A Simple Favor is a perfect glossy studio movie and Feig uses it to amplify the story. The bright colors of Stephanie’s suburban mom slam up against the sleek high fashion of Emily. As the mystery unfolds it gets more noirish but in full color. The aspect ratio is 2:1 so the black bars are minimal.
A lot of the bonus features dwell on on Feig’s fashion. Not just the suits he wears, but his walking stick ended up cameoing in the film. There’s proper technique and rhythm to a walking stick which Lively learned well.
The alternate ending is a flash mob dance sequence, all the better because it’s at the school with kids. I agree with the reasons for cutting it but I think Feig should use this clip as his audition to direct Step Up 6.
Now there are three commentary tracks. That’s six hours of information about A Simple Favor and I was such a fan I listened to them all, and they all held my interest. Feig keeps his solo commentary moving the entire time. The Blu-ray is missing the deleted scene he mentions where Stephanie visits Emily at the end of the movie.
Feig and the filmmakers is a good technical commentary where they get specific and ask each other questions about their departments. DP John Schwartzman compares cinematography to his previews films 50 Shades, Pearl Harbor and EdTV. Writer Jessica Sharzer discusses the adaptation. And costume designer Renee Ehrlich Kalfus talks fashion. Feig says more that wasn’t in previous commentaries too, as well as some common anecdotes in case you only listen to one.
In the actors’ commentary Feig makes them take credit for their specific decisions, so it gets them talking about relevant behind the scenes details. Of course fashion choices are vital to the characters, but also pouring the martinis, love scenes and other spoiler-related decisions. He doesn’t let them just stop and watch the movie.