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Lay the Favorite (2012)

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Ex-private dancer Beth aspires to be a Las Vegas cocktail waitress, when she falls in with Dink, a sports gambler. Sparks fly as she proves to be something of a gambling prodigy--much to the ire of Dink's wife, Tulip.

Director:

Stephen Frears

Writers:

D.V. DeVincentis (screenplay), Beth Raymer (memoir)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Rebecca Hall ... Beth
Joel Murray ... Darren
Hugo Armstrong ... Customer
Corbin Bernsen ... Jerry
Earl Maddox Earl Maddox ... Manager
Rio Hackford ... Magic
Jo Newman ... Darcy
Laura Prepon ... Holly
Bruce Willis ... Dink Heimowitz
Frank Grillo ... Frankie
Wayne Pére ... Scott (as Wayne Péré)
Adam Kozlowski Adam Kozlowski ... Rio Gambler 1
Al Brown ... Old Gambler
Thom Sesma ... Young Guy
Rusty Meyers ... Rio Gambler 2
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Storyline

Beth, who lap dances to make ends meet, leaves Florida for Las Vegas hoping to be a cocktail waitress. She meets two women who introduce her to Dink, a gambler with a system. He hires her - she's good with numbers - and she promptly falls for him, even though he's married to a woman who seems to do nothing but spend his money. Beth tries to entice Dink whose wife, Tulip, tells him to choose; he does and promptly goes on a losing streak. The repercussions of his choice play out with a heavy gambler who has a parole officer, a cheesy bookmaker in Curaçao, Beth's desire to keep a friend out of prison, and help from an unlikely source. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

How far can a losing shot take you?

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language throughout, some sexual content, brief drug use, and nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site [Japan]

Country:

USA | UK | France

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

22 June 2012 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Lady Vegas See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$26,350,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$20,998, 9 December 2012, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$20,998, 9 December 2012
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Dink wears a t-shirt for the Little Brown Jug, a harness race for standardbreds held each year at the Delaware County Fair in Delaware, Ohio. Ohio State athletics are featured prominently several times, and Beth references a period of time she spent in Ohio. See more »

Goofs

During the televised basketball game in the closing minutes of the film, the storyline is that the game is down to no time left on the clock, and the NJ player, Reedmore, has the chance to make 2 foul shots to beat LA. When the baseline camera focuses on the player's face, though, the time clock over the hoop at the other end of the court is visible, and the clock plainly reads 6:40 left in the game. See more »

Quotes

Customer: You should be scared. It's a healthy reaction to a big ass gun like that.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Maltin on Movies: Oz the Great and Powerful (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

It Doesn't Matter Anymore
Written by Paul Anka
Performed by Linda Ronstadt
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Don't bet on it...

Until a friend suggested going to see this movie, I hadn't even heard of it, and other than what I gathered from skimming the synopsis in the cinema-foyer listings-leaflet -it seemed to be some kind of comedy, and starred Bruce Willis as a gambler-, I wasn't sure what it was about.

And now, after sitting through all ninety-four incoherent, enervating minutes of it, I'm still not sure. One of my friends, who is usually uncritical and easily entertained, said he thought that "The Tree of Life" made more sense than this film.

Unlike Terrence Malick's "metaphysical masterpiece" however, there is no confusion here as to what the subject matter is (it's the life of professional gamblers), what is confusing is how that subject matter is presented, and how the narrative is (or isn't) constructed around it. For example, what was the intended tone of the movie, what was the film-maker trying to convey? Was it supposed to be amusing? entertaining? or moving? were we supposed to be excited, or to feel intellectually stimulated? Who knows. My main emotional reaction to the film was a kind of repulsion, because I felt like I was being exploited, like the film was insulting my intelligence and my basic humanity. Like I might expect to feel if I'd been suckered into spending an evening feeding coins to a slot machine.

The first 10 minutes were slightly amusing to be fair, but after that that it just descends into complete mind-numbing absurdity. You might think Vince Vaughn would offer some comic-relief but, for the brief appearances he makes, he's just going through the motions (though it's still the most convincing and consistent performance of the movie).

There was no tension, or intrigue, at all, for the first seventy minutes. I mean nothing seems to really matter to any of the characters, they behave so unrealistically, and incoherently. And when things finally seem to get real and there is some adversity for the characters to face, you just don't care because you can't feel sympathy for such pantomime puppets as these.

They could have gone more into the details, the mechanics, of the gambling operation, that might have been interesting, but they thought it would be better to pad the story out with completely vapid romantic-interest scenes.

Maybe, with the attraction of Willis, Zeta-Jones, Vaughn, (and Rebecca Hall's legs), it was thought that such things as humour, narrative direction, consistency and pacing, character development, etc., were unnecessary.

After seeing the movie, I learned that it was adapted from a book, that at least goes some way towards explaining why there were so many undeveloped, seemingly irrelevant details, obviously included for the sake of those that have read it. For example, Holly (Laura Pripon's character) keeps warning Beth that she is becoming "one of us", in the book there might be context for this but when you watch the film you're just like "what is this I don't even...."

But, even for those that have read the book, maybe more-so, this film will only bemuse and bewilder. While I'm informed the book was written in a 'picaresque' -and no doubt droll (not to mention self-deprecating) style-, on screen, without the benefit of a narrator, this translates into characters, like Beth, who starts off as some kind of cartoon-airhead-bimbo-stripper, sunbathing with baby-oil on her back, ending up as an extraordinarily articulate, mathematical genius, who goes on to become a writer... Rebecca Hall was a bad choice.

And another thing, I couldn't help feeling that this film was not-too-subtly trying to indoctrinate me. Maybe I'm just paranoid but, beyond just the obvious product placements (nice Mercedes being driven by Bruce Willis' Mr. Nice character), it's like they're glamorizing the lifestyle, and completely glossing over any moral issues, and Beth just follows the money from Las Vegas to New York to Curaçao -are we supposed to admire that, to forget about community, and meaningful relationships, just go where the money is and keep working and consuming?-.

Whatever, I've wasted enough time on this drivel already, please heed my warning and don't waste yours.


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