Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr Viber
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
Subscribe To Empire!
Save up to 69%
Empire
Film Studies 101
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
Futuro Beach
4 Star Empire Rating
Honeytrap
2 Star Empire Rating
Phoenix
4 Star Empire Rating
We Are Many
4 Star Empire Rating
A Fuller Life
3 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Still Alice
5 Star Empire Rating
Les Miserables
5 Star Empire Rating
Duke Of Burgundy, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Whiplash
5 Star Empire Rating
Long Good Friday, 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.


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Film Studies 101: Being A Location Manager
Avengers: Age Of Ultron's Jamie Lengyel shares the tricks of the trade

10 Avengers: Age Of Ultron Secrets
Exclusive: Joss Whedon spills the beans on Empire's spoiler podcast

Updated! Stan Lee’s Marvel-lous Cameos – Now With Even More Cameos
From Daredevil to... Daredevil?

11 Of The Silliest Sesame Street Film Parodies
From Aveggies: Age Of Ultron to Big Birdman (and back again)

Podcast #158: Paul Bettany, Charlie Cox
The Vision vs. Daredevil

Richard Armitage Bids Farewell To The Hobbit
On goat-riding, keepsakes and saying goodbye to Thorin

Empire's Jurassic World Covers Unveiled
You're going to hear her roar

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Subscribe now and save up to 70%

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire Digital Edition Today

Subscribe and save money on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Subscribe now and save up to 69%
Print, Digital & Package options available Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire Digital Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  Digital Edition  |  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)