Lay the Favorite (2012)

lay the favoriteStarring: Bruce Willis, Rebecca Hall, Joshua Jackson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Vince Vaughn, Laura Prepon

Directed by: Stephen Frears

R. 94 mins

A forgettable gambling romp that bounces along at a consistently unfunny pace. The story begins as the beautiful and naive Beth (Rebecca Hall) quits her job as a dancer at a Florida strip club in the hopes of becoming a cocktail waitress in Las Vegas. With no education or way to support herself, Beth is excited to meet Dink (Bruce Willis), a professional sports better who offers her a job placing wagers all over town. As it turns out, Beth has a way with numbers and all seems to be going well for the team of hustlers until Dink’s wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones) returns from vacation and grows increasingly jealous of Beth’s relationship with her husband. It is almost painful to watch the actors, most notably Hall and Zeta-Jones, desperately try and save this seemingly pointless tale. Unfortunately, effort doesn’t turn this dud into a winner and it’s a shame to see Frears (The Grifters, High Fidelity, The Queen) involved in such a throwaway feature meant for holiday movie-goers. Lay the Favorite has all the components of a great hand, but plays it entirely wrong – * 1/2

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