Lay The Favourite

Lay The Favourite

***

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Dizzy lapdancer Beth (Rebecca Hall) dreams of leaving Tallahassee behind her and becoming a cocktail waitress in Las Vegas. A twist of fate sees her being taken under the wing of a local bookie, Dink (Bruce Willis), who discovers she has a surprising head for numbers. With Dink's wife Tulip (Catherine Zeta-Jones) increasingly jealous, Beth ends up quitting town for NY - a move that could see her fall foul of the law.

If that all sounds complicated, it is and it is matched in complexity by the bookie jargon that we're introduced to near the beginning. It may be easy enough for Beth to wrap her pretty little head round all the facts and figures of Dink's business but DV DeVincentis' screenplay - based on the memoir by Beth Raymer - doesn't do enough to help the audience truly understand how Dink makes his money, which is a problem considering much of the film depends on this.

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Despite the facts of the matter proving rather too woolly, there is still quite a lot to enjoy about Lay The Favourite - not least Hall's portrayal of Beth. Raymer attended the Sundance premiere of the film and it is quite remarkable how well Hall has captured her personality and quirks on screen.

There are quite a few good one-liners but they are frequently vying for attention with the sprawling plotline, and the New York portion of the film and all that follows, becomes increasingly strained.

Zeta-Jones has some fun mugging it up as caricature trophy wife Tulip, however, Willis never really settles in the groove. His lines always seem to be delivered just a little too knowingly, so that you never lose sight of the actor in favour of the character. Not a dud by any means and Hall's bubbly Beth keeps you with the film, but although the cast all appear to be having a whale of a time, it doesn't quite translate to the amount of laughs it ought to.

Reviewed on: 23 Jun 2012
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An young woman gets involved with a group of geeky older men who have found a way to work the sportsbook system in Las Vegas to their advantage.
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Sundance 2012

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