Gone Girl

A Simple Favor

Film. Funny parody of Gone Girl (Fincher, 2014), A Simple Favor is a meta-movie, ultra-funny and mega-girly. Explanations

By Théo Ribeton

Six years have passed since the original publication of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. Four since the adaptation by David Fincher, with Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike in the lead roles. Gone Girl set a new canon of crime fiction in writing as on screen : the woman allegedly murdered, the husband allegedly guilty, the truth that slowly disintegrates, the quiet hatred of the couple, the discreet art of manipulation, and especially the perfect reversibility of the plot are now the canvas of the thriller post-2012. Sold since like hotcakes, copied, quoted, readapted (a series is announced from the book with Amy Adam). And today we inevitably enter the parody phase with A Simple Favor.

Paul Feig, king of female action comedy for the best

It is also based on a novel, A Simple Favor already qualified at the release of “meta” version of the bestseller Gillian Flynn. “Meta”, ie with, after, beyond his model. The film is the version inject with amphetamines. Either an investigation into the disappearance of a young mother, a woman of power intimidating and secretive, sharing her life between a suburban family life and a job in the very high-profile New York fashion. Investigation conducted by his exact opposite : a young mother, vlogger childcare, always smiling and apparently without secret, became the best friend of Emily weeks before his disappearance. Either an enumeration of the girly indices (“fashion”, “young mothers” …) at the heart of the thriller landscape. The film adaptation completely puts on these glamorous arguments.

To the realization, Paul Feig, king of the female action comedy for the best, as for the worst (Ghostbusters, Spy …). With, in the two main roles, two girly millionaire saga muses: Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect) and Blake Lively (Gossip Girl).

The result : A Simple Favor is both a very commercial product and easy watchable, and a pop and hallucinatory film gradually turning to delirium tremens. From Gone Girl he quickly wavers the basics : the climate of placidity, the quiet installation of explosive narrative principles supposed to reverse the story and make it fall on its feet. Here the twist machine derails : cupcake workshops, incestuous confessions, dead livestreamed murders, cuts of necklines and sex on all floors. The film by Paul Feig is a dive uninhibited in its own parody : the ups and downs of the plot are not staggering, but his effrontery make open your eyes wide.

No moral underpinnings to the story : who is good, who is bad, the question does not arise. The misogyny of Gone Girl had provoked heated debates, which obscure forums are still trying to settle, while A Simple Favor is purely playful, incorrigibly persifleur and definitely ironic. Finally mocking the finals of Fincher’s film, as well as the frivolous girly series and their permanent fashion show (the slightest change of sequence gives the heroines a new look of hell).

A Simple Favor is in the 21st century poles what the Scream saga of Wes Craven was at the horror cinema of the 80s. A film over-conscious of itself, both extreme and parodic. In a satirical and post-fiction painting we expect at any moment to see a volume of Gone Girl lying nonchalantly on a bedside table.