Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
Empire's New Tom Cruise Cover
The Jameson Empire Awards 2014
Vote: The Greatest 301 Movies Of All Time!
Rebecca Hall:
My Movie Life

The actress picks the movies that shaped her
Mountain Dew Green Screen
Register now to see X-Men: First Class!
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
Next Goal Wins
4 Star Empire Rating
Pompeii
2 Star Empire Rating
Other Woman, The
2 Star Empire Rating
You & Me Forever
4 Star Empire Rating
An Episode In The Life Of An Iron Picker
4 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Rebel Without A Cause
5 Star Empire Rating
Calvary
5 Star Empire Rating
Wake In Fright
5 Star Empire Rating
Stranger By The Lake
5 Star Empire Rating
Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?
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
Empire Magazine's 300th Issue: Guest-Editted By The World's Greatest Directors!
Spielberg, Abrams, Mann, Whedon, Fincher, Coppola and many, many more!

Video: Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann And Kate Upton Talk The Other Woman
Prepare your mind for the concept of 'dog ball plumage'

The Best Barry Norman Anecdotes From His Empire Podcast Interview
From nearly punching Robert De Niro to the real story about ‘And why not?’

Fired! Losing Your Job In The Movies
The lowdown on getting dismissed on film

20 Not So Super '-Men' That Won't Star In A Film Any Time Soon
Forget your Batmen, your Spider-Men and your Ant-Men… Meet 3-D Man (and his pals)

The Making Of Locke: A Filmmaker's Journey
Steven Knight takes us through six pitstops (via Heston Services)

Tom Hardy: A Viewer's Guide
The essential, the recommended, the one for the fans... and the one to avoid

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save money on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get Limited Edition Collectable X-Men Art Cards

Subscribe today and get 6 issues of Empire plus a set of collectable X-Men Art Cards for only £20!

Subscribe today

Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Just £25
Receive limited edition subscribers-only covers every 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  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)