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Lay the Favorite

Drama . Comedy . Romance

A former stripper's talent with numbers lands her a job with a professional gambler who runs a sports book in Las Vegas.

Actors: Rebecca Hall , Bruce Willis , Catherine Zeta-Jones , Joshua Jackson , Vince Vaughn , Laura Prepon , John Carroll Lynch , Frank Grillo , Corbin Bernsen , Ambyr Childers , Joel Murray , Hugo Armstrong
Directors: Stephen Frears
Country: USA , UK , FRANCE
Release: 2012-06-22
More Info:
  • Mick LaSalle

    A small and not particularly ambitious movie, but it's pleasing and exceptionally well made. It was directed by Stephen Frears, and while it's not up there with his best - "Dangerous Liaisons," "The Queen," "High Fidelity," "Cheri" - Lay the Favorite lavishes the same attention on the personal, on relationships, and, like most Frears films, it puts a woman at the center of the story.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Kyle Smith

    Frears has a lot of fun with the bad tempers and high spirits of this crew of adrenaline junkies, and though the story falls a little flat, the script is sprinkled with dry wit.

    New York Post Full Review
  • James Berardinelli

    On autopilot from beginning to end, Lay the Favorite feels like sitcom blown up to big-screen proportions. The laughs aren't raucous or numerous, the character development is sketchy at best, and the insider's perspective on bookies and gambling is superficial.

    ReelViews Full Review
  • Kate Stables

    A classy cast and Frears' light touch can't help this innocent abroad dramedy into the winner's enclosure. More jeopardy, less laboured larking, and it could've romped home.

    Total Film Full Review
  • Nathan Rabin

    At best, Lay The Favorite registers as cartoon sociology, but the film's featherweight charms dissipate whenever it moves away from the world of gambling and devotes time to go-nowhere subplots involving Hall's bland romance with Jackson, or Willis' troubled but fundamentally healthy marriage to Zeta-Jones.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Scott Tobias

    Adapted from a comic thriller by Carl Hiaasen, South Florida's day-glo answer to Elmore Leonard, the film missed the fizzy, beach-friendly fun of Hiaasen's work, and wound up playing the comedy and the suspense at half-speed. It couldn't keep up with its own protagonist.

    NPR Full Review
  • Betsy Sharkey

    Romance and capers exist in Lay the Favorite, they just aren't played well.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Keith Uhlich

    Lay the Favorite is frenzied without being funny. Like Judy Holliday on a particularly manic day, Hall tears from scene to scene with a bubbly effervescence that is technically impressive yet increasingly exhausting.

    Time Out New York Full Review
  • Todd McCarthy

    The comedy just isn't that funny and the enterprise never finds an exact tone.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Angie Errigo

    Particularly disappointing given the names involved, it's only mildly amusing at best, and more often downright tedious.

    Empire Full Review
  • Peter Bradshaw

    Stephen Frears is a supremely accomplished director, but perhaps there was little he could do with this garbled and unsatisfying story about gambling.

    The Guardian Full Review
  • Justin Chang

    Rebecca Hall's enjoyably bubbly lead performance lends the picture an occasional frisson of amusement.

    Variety Full Review
  • A.O. Scott

    The movie is a bust, and, as usual in these situations, it is easier to say how than why, and best to say as little as possible, cut one's losses and move on.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Melissa Anderson

    Screeches and scrambles from scene to scene with manic sitcom energy, much like the cherished pet hamster of one of its characters.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • John Lichman

    By the end of the film it seems that even Frears has given up. Lay The Favorite places a bet but comes up empty with a comedy that won't make you smirk, with a gaggle of characters and actors who bounce and riff with very little rhyme or reason.

    The Playlist Full Review
  • Steve Macfarlane

    Hollywood celebrities romping around in a candy-colored Alexa-shot criminal underworld, pretty much as a means of passing time.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Elizabeth Weitzman

    One of those factors must have settled upon the unlucky shoulders of Stephen Frears, who certainly has the pedigree to go all the way. And yet, he stumbles so badly with Lay the Favorite, his comic adaptation of Beth Raymer's memoir, that one is left wondering what could possibly have gone wrong.

    New York Daily News Full Review
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