Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Teaser Trailer
The Farewell To Middle-earth Issue
Review Of The Year 2014
Subscribe: Get 12 Issues For £25
Buy the perfect Christmas present this year
Farewell To Middle-earth
Full details of our Peter Jackson-edited issue
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Bruce Willis
Rebecca Hall
Catherine Zeta-Jones
Vince Vaughn
Joshua Jackson.
Directors
Stephen Frears.
Screenwriters
D.V. DeVincentis.
Running Time
103 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Annie
2 Star Empire Rating
Theory Of Everything, The
4 Star Empire Rating
Bringing Tibet Home
3 Star Empire Rating
Kon-Tiki
4 Star Empire Rating
Enemy
4 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Leviathan
5 Star Empire Rating
Le Jour Se Lève
5 Star Empire Rating
Tony Benn: Will And Testament
5 Star Empire Rating
Nightcrawler
5 Star Empire Rating
Babadook, The
5 Star Empire Rating

Lay The Favourite
All bets are off


submit to reddit


Plot
Lap dancer Beth (Hall) moves to Las Vegas to become a cocktail waitress. Chance, and her uncanny facility with numbers, land her a job with professional gambler Dink (Willis). But the volatility of Dink and his wife (Zeta-Jones) drive Beth away into illegal bookmaking.


Review
Lay The Favourite
Based on a true story (the memoir of stripper, boxer, journalist Beth Raymer), this ensemble comedy feels like it is stretching with all its might to become a clever caper, but that is too far beyond its grasp.

Rebecca Hall takes centre stage as tirelessly bubbly stripper Beth. Encouraged by her dad (Corbin Bernsen) to achieve her dream, she breezes off to Vegas with unquenchable enthusiasm for just about everything. Hall throws herself good-naturedly into this uninhibited spirit, but still comes across as affected as her relentlessly girly voice.

Falling in with eccentric men who spend their lives in front of banked screens, she still finds time to saunter around Vegas long enough for nice shots of the hotel casinos, which are more atmospheric than all the incomprehensible gambler get-togethers. Beth falls in and out of love (with Bruce Willis’ barking mad Dink, and later, with Joshua Jackson’s journo) and does this with the same careless relish that takes her to Curacao to run a highly illegal operation for N.Y. bookie Rosie (Vince Vaughn).

Meanwhile, Dink and his equally wacky wife, Tulip (Catherine Zeta-Jones), weather the storms of their marriage and team up to save Beth. Zeta-Jones may be the best thing in this movie, bravely making herself the butt of nicely pitched middle-age desperation humour.

All along one is anticipating Stephen Frears will show his Grifters chops, in the overly optimistic expectation of some well-plotted scheme developing, some snappy, astonishing twist or ‘all or nothing gamble’. But the script never comes up with anything of the kind.

If you don’t understand how the gambling in Vegas works you still won’t. Characters fast-talk numerical exposition and the ins and outs of odds-making, with little of it registering. A few beers in a US sports bar would make for a richer, more entertaining experience.


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


Reviewed by Angie Errigo

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

SUBSCRIPTION OFFERS

SAVE UP TO 69% GET 12 ISSUES FOR ONLY £25
Get the best seat in the house by subscribing to the world's biggest movie magazine today. Save up to 69% and every month you'll get exclusive subscriber-only covers, access to the biggest stars and the best news, reviews and behind-the-scenes reports straight from the set. Click here to find the perfect offer for you


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Empire's Three Favourite Scenes Of 2014
A hat-trick of moneyshots from the last 12 months

The 32 Funniest Movie Moments Of The Year
2014's side-splittingest scenes

The 10 Best Games Of The Year
2014's top pixel-pushers duke it out for the number one slot

Dan Stevens: The Breakout Star Of 2014
We congratulate The Guest star on his year to remember

The 15 Most Memorable Character Deaths Of The Year
2014’s RIP honour roll

Watch: Night At The Museum's Cast Share Their Favourite Robin Williams Performance
Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Ben Kingsley pay tribute to the actor

Watch: Jack O'Connell And Luke Treadaway Talk Unbroken
On POWs, panto and how to name your bomber

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Only £25!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)