Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Gambled and Lost
Gambling is a common theme for several movies. Like every other topic of central-focus in any movie, there are great movies on the topic, and terrible movies. For the most part, Bruce Willis’s upcoming DVD release, “Lay the Favorite” is a film of the latter. Yes, it does have its moments, but in the long run, there won’t be very many audience members jumping up and down in their seats. So where did it go wrong?
Rebecca Hall plays Beth Raymer in this film adapted from a true story. As the film opens, we are introduced to her way of life, which involved being a private dancer to anyone that would penny up the dough. After realizing that some men can be scumbags, she decides to move to Las Vegas to be a cocktail waitress at one of the major casinos. That also seems to prove difficult, but hope seems to return when she meets Dink Heimowitz (Bruce Willis). Dink runs a gambling business that comprises of endless television and computer monitors playing different games in which he and his team gamble on. Beth is hired onto his team, but what happens when she finds out how he acts when he loses?
This film is defined as a comedy, and it is quite clear at the attempts the movie makes to give off the vibe of humor. It is light-toned, colorful, some quick jokes are made, however subtle they seem to be. Now, no matter the amount of jokes that were either successful or not, it just doesn’t come off as funny. This is inspired by a true story, which has a lot to do with gambling. Fun in Vegas, a serious offense outside of the state of Nevada. Gambling is both shown as legal and illegal in this flick, but it tries to remain comedic in both senses, simply because of the colorful characters. However, the story is serious, which conflicts with the overall feel of the entire movie.
It is really nice to see a number of very well-known actors take the stage here, including Bruce Willis, Vince Vaughn, Joshua Jackson, Corbin Bernsen, and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Rebecca Hall has also been known to play some interesting characters throughout the years, but for some reason, she was terrible in “Lay the Favorite”. You would think that she acts like a teenage valley girl throughout the movie, and it honestly gets irritating. Her character is good with numbers, that’s great, but she may as well have said “Like…Oh My God!” while twirling her hair in every one of her scenes.
Next, the movie was a true story, and because of that, it fails to really have a reason, or a plot. This girl is getting tossed around like a hot potato. Hired, then fired, then hired again, before quitting, then hired somewhere else doing the same thing…you start to ask yourself where the movie is even going with this? Are you ever awarded with an answer to that question? Not really, in a way…sure, but I would only assume in order to have an ending that actually makes sense.
It is clear that the only people that would benefit from watching the movie are fans of the actors, or maybe people that are into gambling, and how complex that process can be, which this movie respectfully covers rather well. Will you be seeing this on your home DVD rack, or your friend’s? In the most likelihood, probably not. This is the unfortunate outcome for forgetful films such as this.
Don’t take my word for it, check out “Lay the Favorite” out for yourself when it is released on DVD and Blu-Ray on Mar. 5!