LAY THE FAVORITE
Playing the Odds
Release Date: December 07, 2012
Starring: Rebecca Hall, Bruce Willis,
Vince Vaughn, Joshua Jackson,
Catherine Zeta-Jones, Corbin
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: 94 minutes
Distributor: The Weinstein Company
Director: Stephen Frears
Executive Producer: Agnes Mentre, Vincent Maraval,
James W. Skotchdopole, Richard
Jackson, Curtis Jackson,
Brandt Anderson, Brandon
Grimes, Anthony Gudas, Michael
Corso, Peter Hampden, James
Producer: Anthony Bregman, Randall
Emmett, George Furla, D.V.
DeVincentis, Paul Trijbits
Writer: D.V. DeVincentis
Address Comments To:Bob and Harvey Weinstein, Co-Chairmen, The Weinstein Company (Radius-TWC/Dimension Films)
345 Hudson Street, 13th Floor
New York, NY 10014
Phone: (646) 862-3400; Fax: (917) 368-7000
The plot follows the story of a misguided young woman named Beth, played by Rebecca Hall. Working as a stripper in Florida, she decides she’d rather be a cocktail waitress in Las Vegas. With her dog in tow, she moves to Vegas with no solid plans on how to begin her new career.
Beth at first appears to be an annoying bimbo, but proves to have an amazing innate skill for figuring out number and letter combinations at breakneck speed. This talent gets her hired as a numbers runner for a gambling operation run by a man named Dink, played by Bruce Willis.
Desperate for affection and lacking self-confidence, Beth quickly swoons for Dink, but he’s married and determined to make his admittedly troubled marriage work. So, eventually, they develop a father-daughter kind of relationship. He advises Beth to use her brains rather than her sexuality to get ahead. Dink’s advice gives Beth some direction in her life, but his wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones) still gets jealous, so Dink has to let her go.
In New York, Beth gets involved in an illegal operation run by one of Dink’s competitors, played by Vince Vaughn. She needs Dink’s help, and that of her new journalist boyfriend (Joshua Jackson of TV’s FRINGE), to dig her way out of trouble.
LAY THE FAVORITE has a talented cast. The performances are solid, especially by Bruce Willis. However, the direction by Stephen Frears (HIGH FIDELITY, THE QUEEN) frequently drifts because of poor pacing. There’s also a clash of performing styles between Rebecca Hall’s high-strung portrayal of Beth and the seemingly bi-polar character of Bruce Willis, who veers between calm and concern and comically violent outbursts. Also, the cinematography and settings look unusually cheap at times. Thankfully, however, some clever, funny dialogue and surprising plot twists, combined with the positive values espoused by Bruce Willis’s character, make LAY THE FAVORITE more enjoyable. In fact, Dink is able to patch things up with his wife, and Beth gets married to the journalist.
Even so, extreme caution is warranted for excessive foul language, some lewd content, brief nudity, and lots of gambling references.
LAY THE FAVORITE has a great cast. The performances are solid, especially by Bruce Willis. However, the direction drifts because of poor pacing and some cheap-looking sets. Even so, some clever, funny dialogue and plot twists, combined with some positive values, make LAY THE FAVORITE enjoyable. Despite that, extreme caution is warranted for excessive foul language, some lewd content, brief nudity, and lots of gambling references.