Director: Stephen Frears
Cast: Rebecca Hall , Bruce Willis, Laura Prepon, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Vince Vaughn, Frank Grillo, Joshua Jackson, Jo Newman, Corbin Bernsen, Joel Murray
RunTime: 1 hr 43 mins
Rating: NC-16 (Coarse Language And Nudity)
Released By: Encore Films
Official Website: www.encorefilms.com/laythefavourite
Opening Day: 4 April 2013
Synopsis: Lay the Favorite is a American comedy film starring Bruce Willis and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Based on Beth Raymer's memoir of the same title, the film follows a young, free-spirited woman as she journeys through the legal and illegal world of sports gambling.
A star-studded cast does little when it comes to making Lay the Favorite a good film, but it sure gives what might just be the only reason for audiences to watch it. Rebecca Hall gives some sex appeal that is much appreciated in this otherwise lacklustre excuse for a movie. This film is bad enough, such that even seasoned veterens like Bruce Willis and Catherine Zeta-Jones can come across as bad actors.
Sure enough, Lay the Favorite begins as a decent-enough film, but then it begins to spiral downwards as things go all over the place. The plot becomes incoherent, and the audience is only kept from snoozing in their seats by bits of dry humor haphazardly thrown into the screenplay. There are no unexpected twists in this film, or deep storytelling to render it anything other than simply, shallow.
After the first ten minutes of this movie, the outcome of every cause and effect chain is predictable. There is no moral compass in this film, no lesson for the audience to take back. Watching Lay the Favorite, it was like waiting for something interesting to happen that never came.
The only choice that seemed to have been consciously made by the maker of this film was to glamourize the lifestyle these characters lead. From Dink’s car to the locations and the amounts of money referred to in this film, it didn’t matter that there weren’t any meaningful character-character relationships and interactions, all this film wanted to do was to amaze the viewer by showing them the high life and the drama in the world of sports betting. The characters didn’t have enough depth for the audience to be able to sympathise with them. There weren’t any sort of complex, emotional attatchments between the characters formed either that could have been interesting.
Of course, we weren’t exactly well-introduced to the world of sports gambling. Lay the Favorite is a movie about sports betting, and to the unseasoned gambler it will come across as slightly confusing because the gambling terms aren’t properly-explained. We learn a little, enough to understand the plot but it would have been better and the movie would have been more interesting as a whole had more aspects of the gambling world actually been touched upon. The audience would have appreciated a look into the entire lifestyle a lot more, much more than merely seeing the glitz of it.
Overall, a movie that one cannot believe had a budget of $20 million. It comes across as a B-grade film, and is once again a confirmation that Bruce Willis is signing himself up for disaster on purpose, time and time again.
(With a dull plot and lacklustre characters, taking the gamble to watch this film will not pay off. Better save your money instead.)
Review by Nishanthini Ganesan